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Evaluation of a mathematics curriculum: Differential effects

By J. Terwel and P. Van den Eeden


Resh explain the sensitivity of the medium-aptitude group by the ‘threshold hypothesis’. In order to be able to benefit from a ‘richer’ learning environment, a student needs a minimum level of personal resources. Below this threshold, enrichment of the learning environment (in our case by means of a higher mean-aptitude score of a class) does not improve learning results. Medium-aptitude students benefit relatively most from being in a class with a high aptitude level and suffer relatively most in a low-aptitude class. Fends study, although carried out at the school rather than the class level, also confirms our findings. Fend claimed that the differential benefit was the most important and consistent finding in the research into the effects of comprehensive schooling (middle school), compared with schooling in the traditional (categorical) school system in Germany. A medium-aptitude student who has been placed in the higher tracks of the traditional system benefits from the enriched learning environment compared with a student of the same aptitude who has been placed in the lowest streams. The latter suffers from being placed in a relatively poor environment. Fend’s analysis was applied to overachievers and underachievers with the same intelligence score

Year: 1994
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Provided by: DSpace at VU
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