Found in translation: A comparison of American, German, and Japanese mathematics texts and exercises

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2004-08-12

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This study compares mathematics textbooks and accompanying exercises from Germany, Japan, and the United States. Two grade-9 mathematics texts from both Germany and the United States are investigated in addition to one Japanese text. The textbooks are compared using a number of characteristics: size, weight, organizational structure, page length and certain formatting measures.

The exercises, which were taken from those chapters containing lessons with a focus on the Pythagorean Theorem, were analyzed using specific categories of criteria: sentence length and type, contextual features, response expectations, and the exercises' cognitive requirements.

Comparisons of the books and exercises were used to address two primary research questions. One, how do American textbooks cover so many more topics than those books from other countries? Two, how does the nature of the exercises vary from country to country? Following a presentation of data, the research questions are addressed and future areas of study are discussed.

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