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Some Characteristics in Korean National Curriculum and its Revising Process. Hee-chan Lew Korea National University of Education Topics. 7 th National Curriculum Nature, Structure, Contents, Guide line for i nstruction and evaluation , College Entrance Examination (CSAT)

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some characteristics in korean national curriculum and its revising process

Some Characteristics in Korean National Curriculum and its Revising Process

Hee-chan Lew

Korea National University of Education

  • 7th National Curriculum
    • Nature, Structure, Contents, Guide line for instruction and evaluation, College Entrance Examination (CSAT)
  • Revising Process
    • Revision Period, Revising Team, Influencing factors in determining mathematics curriculum
  • Social Background of Korea
  • Some lessons from TIMSS report
social background parents concern on education
Social Background Parents’ Concern on Education
  • Education: The most important factor to understand Korean Society.
    • Korean parents are willing to submit themselves to their children’s education.
  • KEDI(2004): in 2000
    • Government’s expense for public education is 30 billion US$
    • Parents’ expense for out-of-school programs: 37 billion US$ (10% of their total income)
out of school programs
Out-of-School Programs
  • Status of out-of-school program in society
    • 84.1% of students (Elementary 91.1%, Junior High 81.5, Senior High 70.2%) go to extracurricular programs
    • “Their children must study harder than other students to enter better universities”
    • “A better university is a shortcut to a better future”
  • Competition-Oriented Society
    • Old tradition
examination tradition
Examination Tradition
  • In 958 AD, “Koryeo” Kingdom (918-1392) accepted from China the formal examination system to select government officials, which was kept even during the next “Chosun”Kingdom (1392-1910) for 950 years.
    • Pass to the examination was the most honorable event of the person and his family
education was our only hope
“Educationwasour only hope ”
  • The Poster of the Special Exhibition of Educational Materials for the 60th Anniversaryof the restoration of independence: 1945-2005
  • “Educationwasour only hope” is a pregnant one-sentence to represent the 60 years of Korean Society
what is learned in out of school program techniques vs abilities
What is learned in out-of-school program?Techniques vs. Abilities
  • 70-90 % of students study mathematics 1-2 hours almost every day at their out-of-school programs
  • They learn technical skills and knowledge for eventually preparing for the college entrance examination rather than cultivating mathematical abilities
  • They learn techniques to select correct answers in various objective tests.
international test
International Test
  • We worry that this kind of out-of-school studies seems to beone of the main reasons of Korean students’ high achievement in TIMSS,TIMSS-R and PISA
  • Other presumed reasons:
    • Korean teachers teach systematically
    • Korean math curriculum favors TIMSS
    • Korea Scholastic Ability Test is similar to PISA
    • Students study hard in their schools to enter better universities or for other purposes


math education after timss
Math Education after TIMSS
  • There were many changes after TIMSS
  • 7th National Curriculum issued on December 1997
    • Focusing on students’ problem solving abilities
  • School Reform Movement in the late of 1990s
    • Open Education
    • Performance Assessment
    • Computer use in classroom
three factors for change
Three factors for change
  • Gradual change in mathematics education since 1980 to support the economic development of 1970s and 1980s
    • From “theoretical” mathematics to “practical” mathematics
  • TIMSS report
    • Reflection on the weak points of math classes
  • Impact of foreign curricula such as of USA & Great Britain
timss report
TIMSS report
  • TIMSS provided an opportunity for Korean Society to reflect on the educational environment on the whole through a multivariate analysis with teachers, institutions as well as students.
  • Korean mathematics education seems to have many serious weak points, despite of students' very proud achievement.
affective characteristics lesson from timss report
Affective Characteristics:Lesson from TIMSS Report
  • Korean students' affective characteristics was not friendly to mathematics compared with other countries.
  • In the case of the 8th grade, Korea was one of the lowest countries in the confidence and interest levels.
  • This result is alsobeing repeated in the current PISA test.
achievement difference lesson from timss report
Achievement Difference:Lesson from TIMSS Report
  • There is a significant difference in the achievement level between male and female, and city and rural area
    • A serious problem with respect to an equal opportunity in mathematics education.
    • Traditional custom guides girls not to go to the mathematical fields.
    • Generally rural area, compared with city area, has an educationally inferior environment.
teaching style lesson from timss report
Teaching Style:Lesson from TIMSS Report
  • Whole class activities under teachers' control is the first consideration in the style of organizing classes
    • 89% of students, the largest rate, thought that whole class lesson with teacher’s explanation is the most frequent style.
    • Only 11%, the lowest rate, of students thought that activities worked in pairs or small groups with assistance from teachers is the most frequent style.
technology lesson from timss report
Technology:Lesson from TIMSS Report
  • Korean math teachers were the most negative in using computer and calculator in their classes and problem solving process
  • 93% of teachers and 96% of students never used computers and calculators in their math classes, which was the highest among TIMSS countries
goals for learning mathematics lesson from timss report
Goals for learning mathematics:Lesson from TIMSS Report
  • Many math teachers do not consider mathematical application and reasoning ability as important goals for students.
    • Korea belongs to countries whose rate was very low.
    • Teachers seem not to understand well the reason why problem solving should be emphasized in mathematics education
evaluation method lesson from timss report
Evaluation Method:Lesson from TIMSS Report
  • Critics have been proposed that the objective items might give a better chance for Korean students to get higher scores than other nations’ students because Korean students were familiar with an objective test.
the 7th curriculum
The 7th curriculum
  • Issued in Dec 31 1997 to reflect:
    • Reform movement of mathematics education throughout the world, particularly of USA
    • Reconsiderationof learning methods and contents school mathematics has emphasized for a long time
    • Lessons from TIMSS report
    • National goals for the construction of an advanced civilized society
    • Individual differences in abilities, needs, and interests of students
nature practical mathematics
Nature: practical mathematics
  • The new curriculum emphasizes practical mathematics such as
    • problem solving
    • application and modeling of mathematics
    • reasoning
  • It contrasts sharply with the 3rd curriculum issued in 1973 which emphasized mathematical knowledge as theoreticalaspect
gradual change since 1980
Gradual change since 1980
  • The change has been done gradually since the 4th curriculum issued in 1980:
    • 4th: problem solving
    • 5th: problem solving
    • 6th:problem solving, technology
    • 7th: problem solving, reasoning, communication, technology, connection, modeling
  • The influence of USA for Koreanmathematics curriculum
old kingdom period
Old Kingdom Period
  • Korea has a long history of emphasizing theoreticalmathematics for a selective examination
    • In 958, the "Koryeo" Kingdom (918-1392) introduced mathematics into its examination system to select middle level technical government officials.
    • They have to memorize many Chinese mathematical classics including “Nine Chapters on Mathematical Art” for 7-9 years in schools.
1 st curriculum
1st Curriculum
  • 1st curriculum issued in 1955 professed to emphasize practical problem solving in real life under the influence of the American pragmatism and Dewey's educational philosophy.
  • However, real situation was different because most of textbook authors were pure mathematicians and the college entrance examination were not practically oriented .
2 nd 3 rd curriculum
2nd & 3rd Curriculum
  • 2nd curriculum (1963) emphasized more formal and systematical mathematics.
  • 3rd curriculum (1973) accepted the new mathematics movement totally, emphasizing set language, mathematical structures and logical rigorousness
  • The theoretical mathematics reached to the highest points.
instruction under 7 th curriculum
Instruction under 7th curriculum
  • The 7th curriculum emphasizes various types of instruction to improve efficiency and significance of students' mathematical learning.
  • It recommends that students should be able to experience the joy of discovery and maintain their interest in mathematics in their classrooms
evaluation under 7 th curriculum
Evaluation under 7th curriculum
  • Mathematical power should be evaluated by the following methods in their classrooms:
    • to focus on students' understanding of a problem and the problem-solving process as well as its results;
    • to focus on student's abilities to think and solve problems in a flexible, diverse and creative fashion;
schooling system students number
Schooling system & Students number
  • Korea has 6-3-3-4 educational system
    • Elementary 6 years, Junior High 3 years, Senior High 3 years, College 4 years
  • We have about 400,000 students in each grade
    • Almost 100 % students graduate Senior High schools
    • At 11 grade, they choose one of the Liberal Arts track or Science track
    • The ratio of students of Liberal Arts track and Science track is 2:1
  • The 7th curriculum have two parts:
  • The compulsory core curriculum learned in the first 10 school years called “people common educational period”
  • The elective curriculum learned in 11 and 12 grades by choosing some among 6 subjects such as:
    • Real-World Math, Math I, Math II, Calculus, Statistics and Probability, and Discrete Math
  • The compulsory core curriculum is to teach same contents to all students
  • The elective curriculum has two kinds of selective subject:
    • General-selective: a subject to strengthen cultural literacy and connection to real world
      • Real-World Mathematics
    • Deep-selective: 5 subjects related with college entrance examination
      • Math I, Math II, Calculus, Statistics and Probability, and Discrete Math
level promotion
Level Promotion
  • The compulsory core curriculum has 20 levels. Students are promoted by a level-transfer test administered by schools at the end of semester.
    • This system converts from the laissez-fair policy which guarantees automatic promotion to the controlling policy.
    • Students who fail the level transfer test by scoring below 60% must take the extra- course offered by schools during the vacation of the semester.
enrichment and supplement program
Enrichment and Supplement Program
  • To avoid unnecessary competition and a sense of incongruity among students and parents, skipping levels is not permitted
  • For advanced students and low achievers, special enrichment and supplementarysections will be provided during the course at the teacher's discretion.
time allotment
Time Allotment
  • Time allotted to Mathematics of 1-10 grades is 131 class hours in average per year.
    • It is the largest amount of time allotment second only to Korean, of which time allotment is 188 hours in average per year.
  • In Grades 11 & 12, the time allotmentdepends on the kinds of students’ track for College Entrance Examination:“Science” and “Liberal art”
time allotment34
Time Allotment

*1class hour of Elementary, Junior High and Senior High is 40, 45, 50 minutes respectively

** 1 year is 34 weeks

contents of grades 1 10
Contents of Grades 1-10
  • The Compulsory mathematics curriculum consists of the six strands:
    • Number & Operation, Geometry, Measuring, Probability & Statistics, Letter & Expression, and Pattern & Function
  • Unlike USA, Korea does not distinguish content strand andprocess strand.
    • Only exception is “problem solving” but, it is in “Letters and Expression” strand.
number and operation class hours classified by big ideas and grades
Number and OperationClass hours classified by big ideas and grades
  • Class Hours per year: 1310 (1st grade, 102; 9th grade, 120; others, 136)
geometry class hours classified by big ideas and grades
GeometryClass hours classified by big ideas and grades
  • Class Hours per year: 1310 (1st grade, 102; 9th grade, 120; others, 136)
measuring class hours classified by big ideas and grades
MeasuringClass hours classified by big ideas and grades
  • Class Hours per year: 1310 (1st grade, 102; 9th grade, 120; others, 136)
probability and statistics class hours classified by big ideas and grades
Probability and Statistics Class hours classified by big ideas and grades
  • Class Hours per year: 1310 (1st grade, 102; 9th grade, 120; others, 136)
letter and expression class hours classified by big ideas and grades
Letter and ExpressionClass hours classified by big ideas and grades
  • Class Hours per year: 1310 (1st grade, 102; 9th grade, 120; others, 136)
pattern and function class hours classified by big ideas and grades
Pattern and FunctionClass hours classified by big ideas and grades
  • Class Hours per year: 1310 (1st grade, 102; 9th grade, 120; others, 136)
revising period of curriculum
Revising Period of Curriculum
  • 2nd - 4th curriculum: 7-10 years
  • 5th - 7th curriculum: 5 years
revising team
Revising Team
  • MOE names one person in a university or a research institute as the chief of the revising team and requests the chief to construct the revising team
    • 7th: one professor of SKK University
    • The newly developed: The director of Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE)
  • The chief has an important role in the selection process of other 6-7 members who are all professors or researchers
activities of the revising team
Activities of the Revising Team
  • The team holds a conference to reflect various opinions from various individual or groups like academic circles or society and math teacher’s union or groups
  • The team makes questionnaire and interview with teachers, researchers, parents, students, administrators to appreciate national or societal goals and to select contents and their sequence.
consulting team
Consulting Team
  • The team has the consulting team with teachers and professors to consult various problems in the process of revising the curriculum.
  • Several meetings are held to respond to questions and some issues raised by the revising team
meetings to reflect various opinions
Meetings to reflect various opinions
  • The mathematics education society invites the chief of the team to introduce the draft of the curriculum at the annual meeting of the Society to provide some feedback to the team.
  • The team holds seminars on the draft of the curriculum 5-6 times at the focal universities in the local areas to reflect some ideas of the local communities of mathematics education.
reviewing committee
Reviewing Committee
  • MOE organizes the reviewing committee with professors and teachers to review the final draft corrected by the revising team based on the various opinions collected from various meetings.
  • Reviewing Committee invites the revising team in the reviewing process to discuss or to debate some key issues.
public hearing
Public Hearing
  • After finishing the whole reviewing process, the revising team holds a public hearing to report the final draft to the public.
important factors in revising curriculum
Important Factors in Revising Curriculum
  • Analysis of the previous curriculum executed in classrooms.
  • Students’ understanding level
  • Logical sequence of contents
  • Foreign countries’ curriculum
  • National and social needs
  • Request of academic circle
  • Relevance of amount of learning
  • This has summarized the change of mathematics education and the process for the change made in Korea after TIMSS.
    • The main focus is on the practical mathematics.
  • The national strategy to construct a highly developed country in the near future.
    • Practical Mathematics is tool for propelling the development of science and for solving quantitative and qualitative problems faced on people in their lives.
  • More students have to leave school absorbing mathematics and having confidence.
    • Until now, school mathematics is considered as only a subject for college entrance examination.
    • Many students think continual learning of mathematics is meaningless and elementary mathematics is enough.
    • We have to stop this consideration from now.
  • Korea has a long history of examination oriented mathematics education.
  • So, it is very difficult to change this kind of culture.
  • But, many Korean mathematics teachers and educators are trying to re-model math classes though it is a rugged and very difficult way.