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A Comparison of Problems That Follow Selected Content Presentations in American and Chinese Mathematics Textbooks

Yepling Li 

March 2000, Volume 31, Issue 2, Page 234

To illuminate the cross-national similarities and differences in expectations related to students' mathematics experiences between the United States and China, I compared all relevant problems that followed the content presentation of addition and subtraction of integers in several American and Chinese mathematics textbooks. A 3-dimensional framework (for mathematical features, contextual features, and performance requirements) was developed in this study to analyze these textbook problems. The results show that the percentage differences in problems' dimensions, mathematical and contextual features, were smaller than the difference in problems' performance requirements. Specifically, the differences found in problems' performance requirements indicate that the American textbooks included more variety in problem requirements than the Chinese textbooks. The results are relevant to documented cross-national differences in American and Chinese students' mathematical performances.