The University Record, February 7, 1994

$1 million grant funds study of teaching in U.S., Germany, Japan

By Diane Swanbrow
News and Information Services

U-M researcher Harold W. Stevenson and colleagues have been awarded a $1,068,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support a three-year comparative study of teaching and learning in the United States, Germany and Japan.

The study will involve intensive case studies of kindergarten through 11th-grade students and teachers in all three countries, based on direct classroom observations, systematic interviews and discussions with students, parents, teachers and education authorities.

“This case study approach is designed to provide up-to-date, comprehensive information about the possible bases for cross-national differences in academic achievement in science and mathematics, identified in our previous large-scale studies,” says Stevenson, professor of psychology and fellow at the Center for Human Growth and Development.

Stevenson’s book with James W. Stigler, The Learning Gap: Why Our Schools are Failing and What We Can Learn from Japanese and Chinese Education, based on those large-scale studies, was published in paperback by Simon & Schuster this month.

In the new case studies, the researchers plan to focus on four topics: the place of school in adolescents’ lives, procedures for dealing with student differences in ability, national standards, and the working conditions of teachers.

Working as co-director of the project with Stevenson is Shin-Yun Lee, assistant research scientist at the Center for Human Growth and Development. The study is being conducted in conjunction with the Third International Mathematics and Science study.