Why do children differ in mathematical competencies? The experience of a standardized test in the primary school of Canton Ticino, Switzerland

Zanolla, Giovanna (2014) Why do children differ in mathematical competencies? The experience of a standardized test in the primary school of Canton Ticino, Switzerland. International Journal of Teaching and Education, 2 (3). pp. 155-167. ISSN 2336-2022

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to present a standardized test aimed at evaluating the mathematical competencies in the fourth class of primary school in the Swiss region of Ticino and at examining the main determinants of the results obtained by 3000 pupils. The analysis of the impact of environmental, school, class, teacher, individual and household factors reveals that children’s scores differ considerably in relation to the district where the school is located, the family socioeconomic status, the nationality and the age of the pupil and the Math’s grade. While factors such as the school’s size, the urban/rural location of the community, the attendance of a multi-class exert a significant effect only on a part of the considered competencies, class size, seems to be irrelevant.

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