COGNITIVE DEMAND IN OBSERVED LESSONS AND NATIONAL TESTING COMPARED TO PISA MATHEMATICS RESULTS IN LATVIA
1 University of Latvia (LATVIA)
2 Concordia University Chicago (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Major reforms in the country were begun in 2006 but Latvian students’ performance in the mathematics portion of PISA have remained consistent. Work on the new education reform started in Latvia in 2016. Latvian students’ performance achievement in mathematics as measured by the PISA assessment remains in the middle of country rankings. The government of Latvia has made it a priority to increase scores in PISA assessments, especially its percent of top performers. This study explored possible reasons why scores, especially the percent of top performers, have not increased. PISA’s six proficiency levels in mathematics and SOLO taxonomy were used to make comparisons. An analysis of the cognitive demand present in sampled mathematics lessons showed that only 29% of the lessons indicated the use of higher order cognitive skills (HOCS) on an acceptable level (2-3 in scale 0-3). The research shows the clear need to improve the instructional skills - to develop HOCS oriented learning activities.
In addition, an analysis of national testing done at the grade 3, 6, 8, 9 and 12 investigated the cognitive demand required by the questions. These results also showed that higher proficiency levels (5 and 6) corresponding to higher levels of cognitive demand were only in same cases present in the testing. This research raises many questions about ongoing instructional practices and how national testing can be changed to promote high levels of cognitive demand in the mathematics classroom.
Keywords: Cognitive Demand, PISA Mathematics, Testing.