In-depth Analyses of Different Countries’ Responses to MCK Items: A View on the Differences Within and Between East and West

  • Feng-Jui Hsieh
  • Chi-Tai Chu
  • Chia-Jui Hsieh
  • Pi-Jen Lin
Part of the Advances in Mathematics Education book series (AME)


This chapter looks into the MCK performance of future teachers by in-depth analyses which go beyond the overall MCK scores provided by the international TEDS-M study. The purpose is to identify factors that may describe the differences and similarities of performance between countries. Many new findings are revealed through a multifaceted analysis of cognitive subdomains and individual items on both the country and the cultural level. Our analysis identified six performance patterns based on the relative achievement in knowing, applying, and reasoning as cognitive subdomains. The performance distribution has a tendency to cluster culturally similar countries in the same group, but exceptions do appear.

We constructed a variable that models the difficulty of the cognitive subdomains. Based on this model, we identified the impact of cognitive elements on countries’ performance. For example, we found that the two developed European countries, Norway and Switzerland, and almost all Eastern countries are strong on the reasoning element of items, which indicates a focus of their mathematics teacher education on reasoning.

The in-depth item analysis reveals new findings as well. Russia and the Philippines tend to employ uniform methods to solve problems, while the United States, Germany, Norway, Poland, and Taiwan tend to employ multiple methods. A tendency that the Western culture embodies an open and creative nature in their mathematics education is inferred. This study also finds a different philosophy in mathematics education relating to the rigor and formalism of acceptable mathematics solutions between the Eastern and the Western countries.


TEDS-M Mathematics content knowledge (MCK) Teacher education International comparison Cognitive effect Cultural comparison 



We gratefully acknowledge the following: the IEA, the International Study Center at Michigan State University, the Data Processing Center, the ACER, the U.S. NSF, the Taiwan TEDS-M team, and all TEDS-M national research coordinators for sponsoring the international study and providing information and data. Taiwan TEDS-M 2008 was supported by the National Science Council and Ministry of Education.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Feng-Jui Hsieh
    • 1
  • Chi-Tai Chu
    • 1
  • Chia-Jui Hsieh
    • 1
  • Pi-Jen Lin
    • 2
  1. 1.National Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.National Hsinchu University of EducationHsinchuTaiwan

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