The main aim of this project is to carry out research into the teaching and learning of Mathematics in different countries, and ultimately to make recommendations about good practice in helping pupils acheive their mathematical potential.

The project has grown out of collaborative work between the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching (CIMT) at the School of Education, University of Exeter in England, and the Mathematics Education Group at Kassel University in Germany. Our initial interest was centred on finding appropriate ways to use applications in the teaching of Mathematics, but this has now widened to encompass all major strands of Mathematics teaching in secondary schools.

As well as achieving our main aim, we hope that this project will provide relevant data for

- the comparison of progress in a variety of mathematical topics;
- the comparison of mathematics curricula in participating countries;
- the comparison and correlation of the ability to solve problems in context and apply mathematical concepts to real situations, with mathematical attainment;
- the evaluation of the effectiveness of different approaches to teaching mathematics;
- the use of calculators, computers and other resources;
- the evaluation of self-based schemes of work compared with traditional teacher-led methods;
- effect of setting/streaming;
- the comparison of 'expectations' at all levels of ability in different countries;
- recommendations for a mathematics curriculum for the 21st century.

This research is based on a longitudinal study of representative samples of pupils in participating countries. It is the first extensive comparative study in Mathematics, based on monitoring the progress of individual pupils.

The project began in September 1993 in England, Scotland and Germany and will run for three years in these countries. Other countries have joined in September 1994 and January 1995 and will participate for two years.

The current list of countries participating is

England | Czech Republic |

Germany | Brazil |

Scotland | USA |

Finland | Australia |

Norway | Japan |

Greece | Singapore |

Holland | |

Hungary | Thailand |

Poland | Russia and Ukraine |

The project will monitor the progress of cohorts of pupils (over a 2 or 3 year period) in schools which are as representative of each country as possible in type and location. The cohorts will range from complete year groups in some schools to selected classes in other schools. In September 1994 the majority of pupils will be entering the school year corresponding to age 14+.

All pupils take the following tests, each of 40 minutes duration

*Potential Test*

This aims to assess mathematical potential and will be taken **once** and only once by all pupils at the beginning of their participation in the project. It will be used, in conjunction with initial attainment scores, as a yardstick on which to base comparisons.

* Optional - only used in some countries

These tests will provide a measure of attainment in the main areas of mathematics in secondary schools. They will be taken after the *Potential Test* in the first year and very similar tests will be administered at the beginning of the following school years and at the end of the final year, enabling us to measure progress over 2 to 3 years of tuition.

Other information on factors which might affect learning will be sought first of all from a series of **Questionnaires**:

**Data analysis** will be used in the second year of the project in each country to indicate schools/classes of particular interest. These and others will be subject to extensive observations during the remainder of the project, leading to individual recommendations being made in each country.

Interim reports will be published regularly throughout the project. A Year 3 progress report is now available. The final data analysis will take place in 1997 and will be followed by further observational work before a final project report is published in 1999.