Mathematics is one of the most important subjects in the school curriculum. It helps to develop analytical skills, furthering students’ ability to solve real-life problems. It is considered a foundational subject in many countries, with students needing to have a solid understanding of mathematics in order to pursue higher education and career paths.
But which countries have math that is easier to learn?
Mathematic proficiency is considered a marker of a student’s scholastic standing and can help to predict their performance in other academic fields. As such, it is viewed by many as a fundamentalcomponent of academic success. The challenge presented by different countries’ educational systems is that some may have math that is easier for a student to master than others – which countries have the best chance of helping their students become maths whizzes?
What is the Difficulty of Math Around the World?
It is difficult to accurately measure the difficulty of math and its levels. As there is no unified global curriculum for mathematics teaching, the experience of maths and its difficulty can vary from country to country. For example, some countries may have a curriculum that is heavily focused on applied mathematics, while other countries practice focusing more on abstract concepts.
Opinions On Maths Education in Different Countries
Teachers around the world have varying views on the difficulty of mathematics in different countries. For example, a teacher in the United States may say the country’s maths curriculum is not effective, while a teacher in Japan may think the country has easy maths. Some teachers may suggest that mathematics in Korea and China is more challenging than other countries, while teachers in the Netherlands and Finland may think the opposite.
So, it really depends on the opinion of each individual teacher and their experiences in their respective countries.
Mathematics Performance in India
According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), India is one of the lower-performing countries in math education. The report suggested that Indian schools are generally focused on memorization, which is not conducive to understanding and applying math concepts.
Mathematics Performance in Japan
Japan has consistently performed very well in international mathematics tests. A 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) revue found that Japanese students consistently scored very high in mathematics, making Japan the country with the highest-performing students in math. One factor contributing to this is the strength of the Japanese maths curriculum, with a ‘skills-based’ curriculum that focuses on developing basic calculations and problem-solving skills.
Mathematics Performance in China
Chinese students have also consistently performed well in international mathematics tests, leading some to suggest that maths education in China is easier than in other countries. However, it is important to note that the Chinese school system follows a different approach to teaching mathematics compared to other countries. The Chinese maths curriculum is ‘concept-based’, focusing on theoretical approaches to maths.
Mathematics Performance in South Korea
South Korean students are known to excel in mathematics. Through a combination of strong teaching methods and dedication, South Korean students are estimated to have the highest maths scores in the world. Part of the success of South Korean students can be attributed to the ‘coaching culture’ prevalent in the country, where students are encouraged to develop their maths skills through private tuition.
Mathematics Performance in the USA
The United States has seen declining scores in maths tests over the last few decades, typically performing below the international average. Some experts suggest that this is because of the high levels of inequality in maths education in the country. The American education system is criticized for failing to provide all students with an equal standard of maths teaching, meaning that students from lower-income backgrounds are falling behind.
Mathematics Performance in Finland
Finland is known for having an impressive education system, with students generally performing highly in international maths tests. This is attributed to various features of the Finnish education system, such as the advanced curriculum and teacher-student relationship. Finland also allows for open learning, where students are encouraged to think critically rather than focus on rote learning.
Mathematics Performance in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has a unique style of teaching mathematics, combining elements of the Dutch and North American curricula. This is seen as a positive approach, with students typically performing higher than the OECD average in international maths tests. Dutch students also achieve better results than their peers in other countries, even though the Netherlands has fewer resources.
Mathematics is an important part of the school curriculum in many countries. It is clear that different countries have varying levels of difficulty in maths, with some countries having an easier path when it comes to mastering the subject. It is difficult to accurately compare the performance of each country, but it is clear that countries like Japan, China, South Korea, Finland, and the Netherlands are performing much better than countries like the United States and India.
It is worth noting, however, that the government and teaching styles of each country must be taken into account when evaluating the difficulty of maths.