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Maths criticism does not add up

FALLING off the edge of page 27 of last week's TES (February 4) was a book review that should have made the front page.

Teachers have been castigated for more than two years over our poor levels of mathematical education and our "long tail" of underachieving children in comparison with many other countries in Europe and the Far East.

The truth, as described in Comparing Standards Internationally (Symposium Books) bears repeating: German 13-year-olds did far worse than the British as thelowest performing 27 per cent were removed from the sample; in the Netherlands, 17 per cent attend special schools which were excluded from the survey; our performance was in fact similar to most European or Anglophone countries; Japanese children excel by the age of 13, but have spent twice as many hours learning maths as English children.

How can research as misleading as the TIMSS analyses become the false basis for judgments and development work?

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