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Ian George Morgan, Amanda French, Kathryn Ailsa Rose; SCHOOL SYSTEMS WITH A HIGH PREVALENCE OF MYOPIA DOMINATE INTERNATIONAL COMPARISONS IN MATHS AND SCIENCE. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):2374.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
There is a strong association between educational performance and the prevalence of myopia at the individual, class and school level, and we have previously shown that all school systems with a known high prevalence of myopia in young adults are strong performers in the international testing of school performance in the Programme for International School Achievement (PISA). We now examine whether these systems also do well in the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
TIMSS 2015 studied the performance of students in grade 4 and grade 8 in standardized tests in mathematics and science in 47 countries. The results are now available at http://www.timss2015/org. Based on literature review, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Chinese cities, including Hong Kong, were identified as having a high prevalence of myopia in young adults. Schools in mainland China did not participate in TIMSS 2015, but schools in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong did.
In mathematics at grade 4, the top 5 school systems were those of Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan in descending order. At grade 8 level, the same 5 school systems constituted the top 5, with only a slight difference in order. In mathematics, there was a clear gap between the top 5 and all other school systems. In science at grade 4, the high prevalence of myopia systems were in the top 6 positions, together with the Russian Federation, and at grade 8, they also constituted the top 6, joined by Solvenia. No school system with a known high prevalence of myopia was outside the top 6 places, and no system with a known low prevalence of myopia appeared in the top 10 places.
The high myopia school systems were more dominant in TIMSS testing than in PISA testing, possibly because TIMSS testing emphasizes precise answers rather than general understanding. Similarly, they were more dominant in mathematics testing than in other areas. These school systems are characterized by high competition from preschool for entry to high performing schools, and highly repetitive practice in mathematics. These two characteristics may provide approaches to prevention of myopia in schools based on reforms to curriculum and system organization.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2017 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Baltimore, MD, May 7-11, 2017.
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