Comparisons of valued performance in mathematics and science curriculum documents in Melbourne, Beijing and Helsinki: Mathematical and Scientific Literacy

Year: 2012

Author: Clarke, David, Xu, Li Hua, Kang, Yueyuan, Ziebell, Natasha

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Within particular school systems, knowledge domains, such as mathematics and science, assume a curricular sanctity only apparent through cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary comparison. This paper compares curricular expectations for both mathematics and science from Australia, China and Finland. The comparison of the three intended mathematics curricula revealed interesting differences in the way that each curriculum is structured and the way in which mathematical literacy is integrated in the teaching of mathematics content. While all three curricula promote scientific literacy as an important goal of school science education, differences are evident in such fundamental respects as the content areas included in science, the categories into which the science curriculum is partitioned, the detail (standards statements) by which the science curriculum is specified, and the relative emphasis given to performance categories such as communication, understanding, procedures, and recall. It appears that mathematics and science pose interestingly different curricular challenges contingent on different priorities.