Different Cultures, Different Students, Same Test: Comparing Math Skills of Hungarian and American College Students

Barbara A. Price, Cindy H. Randall, Joshua Frederick, József Gáll, Thomas W. Jones


In recent decades, Hungary and the United States have embraced new philosophies in their approach to teaching
mathematics. Hungary’s changes were driven by social and economic shifts, the U.S. by the creation of national
standards. In both countries, university faculty members complain about students’ poor math skills. Professors
from three universities tested students in different business classes; all classes have a significant math component
and require critical thinking. Analyses revealed that Hungarian students outperformed those in the U.S., that
there was no difference in performance by gender, and that students who were further along in their university
classes did not perform better than those who were beginning degree programs.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/jel.v1n2p128


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