A comparison of rural high school students in Germany with rural Tennessee high school students' mathematics and science achievement

R. Fredrick Harding, Tennessee State University


This descriptive study compared the science and mathematics aptitudes and achievement test scores for the final school year students in rural White County and Van Buren County, Tennessee with rural county students in Germany. In accordance with the previous research literature (Stevenson, 2002), German students outperformed U.S. students on The International Trends in Math and Science test (TIMSS). As reform in the U.S. education system has been underway, this study intended to compare German county student final school year performance with White County and Van Buren County (Grade 12) performance in science and mathematics. The entire populations of 176 White and Van Buren Counties senior high final school year students were compared with 120 school final year students from two rural German county high schools. The student responses to identical test and questionnaire items were compared using the t-test statistical analysis. In conclusion after t-test analyses, there was no significant difference (p>.05 level) in student attitudes on the 27 problem achievement and the 35 TIMSS questionnaire items between the sampled population of 120 German students compared with the population of 176 White and Van Buren students. Also, there was no statistically significant difference (p>.05 level) between the German, White, and Van Buren County rural science and math achievement in the TIMSS problem section of the final year test. Based on the research, recommendations to improve U.S. student scores to number one in the world include making changes in teaching methodology in mathematics and science; incorporating pamphlet lessons rather than heavily reliance on textbooks; focusing on problem solving; establishing an online clearinghouse for effective lessons; creating national standards in mathematics and science; matching students' course choices to job aspirations; tracking misbehaving students rather than mainstreaming them into the regular classroom; and designing individual educational plans for every student. Further study and future investigations are recommended from this study to compare White County and Van Buren County Students with other rural county schools in Tennessee, as well as other states. In addition, the Tennessee students' state mandated science and mathematics could be correlated to the TIMMS to identify trends and relationships. Future comparisons of White County and Van Buren County with higher scoring rural Asian students could be done in search of more effective methods of teaching science and mathematics.

Subject Area

Mathematics education|School administration|Science education

Recommended Citation

R. Fredrick Harding, "A comparison of rural high school students in Germany with rural Tennessee high school students' mathematics and science achievement" (2007). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3243906.