Methodological Advances in Cross-National Surveys of Educational Achievement

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In November 2000, the Board on International Comparative Studies in Education (BICSE) held a symposium to draw on the wealth of experience gathered over a four--decade period, to evaluate improvement in the quality of the methodologies used in international studies, and to identify the most pressing methodological issues that remain to be solved. Since 1960, the United States has participated in 15 large--scale cross--national education surveys. The most assessed subjects have been science and mathematics through reading comprehension, geography, nonverbal reasoning, literature, French, English as a foreign language, civic education, history, computers in education, primary education, and second--language acquisition. The papers prepared for this symposium and discussions of those papers make up the volume, representing the most up--to--date and comprehensive assessment of methodological strengths and weaknesses of international comparative studies of student achievement. These papers answer the following questions: (1) What is the methodological quality of the most recent international surveys of student achievement? How authoritative are the results? (2) Has the methodological quality of international achievement studies improved over the past 40 years? and (3) What are promising opportunities for future improvement?

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