A comparison of the intended mathematics curriculum in China, Hong Kong and England and the implementation in Beijing, Hong Kong and London
This thesis compares the various components of the intended junior secondary
mathematics curriculum in China, Hong Kong and England and the implementation in
Beijing, Hong Kong and London, and suggests factors to account for the differences in
The three places under study were found to differ tremendously in their culture, education
system and history of development of the mathematics curriculum. For the intended
curriculum, the three places did not differ much in the aims of mathematics education on
the utility of the product of mathematics, but great differences were found in the intrinsic
aims and aims on the utility of the process of mathematics. The curriculum in all three
places intended the use of a variety of teaching methods, but great differences were found
in the mathematics content intended to be learned by the students. Results of a
questionnaire showed that teachers in the three places differed greatly in their attitudes
towards mathematics and mathematics education. Moreover, a pattern of responses
emerged, with the responses of the Hong Kong teachers lying between those of the
Beijing and London teachers.
Through classroom observations, it was found that teachers in the three places differed in
their classroom teaching, and analysis of selected topics from textbooks revealed that
students in the three places learned very different mathematics in the classroom. Despite
these differences, mismatch between the intended and implemented curriculum was found
in all three places, although the kind of mismatch differed from place to place.
Lastly, a framework of factors at four levels was suggested to account for the differences
in curriculum. It was argued that factors at the classroom, school and societal levels all
contributed to the differences found, but factors at the cultural level had to be drawn upon
for a satisfactory explanation of the findings in this study.