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William  Schmidt - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

William Schmidt William  Schmidt

University Distinguished Professor of Education and Statistics | Michigan State University


Professor Schmidt's research focuses on issues of academic content in K-12 schooling and the effects of curriculum on academic achievement



William  Schmidt Publication




A conversation with William H. Schmidt Prolepsis with Dr. William Schmidt, MSU Distinguished Professor



William Schmidt is a University Distinguished Professor, founder and director of the Center for the Study of Curriculum, and director of the Education Policy Center. He holds faculty appointments in measurement and quantitative methods in the Department of Statistics. He is a member of the National Academy of Education, an American Educational Research Association (AERA) Fellow, director of the AERA Institute on Statistical Analysis, and a recent OECD Thomas J. Alexander Fellow for education quality and equity. He has published in numerous journals including the Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. His most recent books include Teacher Education Matters, Inequality for All, and the edited volume International Perspectives on Teacher Knowledge, Beliefs and Opportunities to Learn. His current writing and research focuses on issues of academic content in K-12 schooling, the effects of curriculum on academic achievement, assessment, and educational policy related to mathematics, science, and testing in general.

Industry Expertise (2)

Education/Learning Research

Areas of Expertise (5)

Educational Policy Research Design Statistics Assessment Measurement

Accomplishments (2)

American Educational Research Association Fellow (professional)

The American Educational Research Association, or AERA, was founded in 1916 as a professional organization representing educational researchers in the United States and around the world

OECD Thomas J. Alexander Fellow (professional)

Recognition from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Education (3)

University of Chicago: Ph.D., Psychometrics

University of Chicago: Ph.D., Applied Statistics

Concordia College: B.S., Mathamatics

Affiliations (1)

  • National Academy of Education

News (5)

Hate algebra? Michigan State University has good news

Detroit Free Press  


But students aren’t likely to succeed in the new classes or in post-college life without some algebra fundamentals, said William Schmidt, director of the MSU College of Education's Center for the Study of Curriculum.

“Students who come to college with real weaknesses on the formal math side may not benefit fully from the quantitative lessons,” he said.

While every job doesn’t require a well-honed knowledge of advanced math, Schmidt said, learning the fundamentals is essential to problem-solving.

“The logic of thinking algebraically builds ways of thinking about problems, allowing us to engage in the practical aspects of mathematics,” he said. “It’s pretty tough (to do so) without it.”...

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MSU education scholars named top influencers

MSU Today  


University Distinguished Professor William Schmidt at #31, a jump from #69 last year. Schmidt directs the Center for the Study of Curriculum and co-directs the Education Policy Center at MSU. His work focuses on the impact of curriculum and standards, particularly in math...

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Failed mission: How schools worsen inequality

MSU Today  online


“The belief that schools are the great equalizer, helping students overcome the inequalities of poverty, is a myth,” said William Schmidt, University Distinguished professor of statistics and education at MSU and lead investigator on the study.

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MSU researcher launches common core tool for teachers

MSU Today  online


Michigan State University researcher William Schmidt has created a free web-based tool to help American educators teach the Common Core State Standards in mathematics.

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Tough standards needed for math teachers

MSU Today  


New research led by William Schmidt shows some teacher education programs in the United States rank among the best in the world, but the programs that perform the worst are producing more than 60 percent of the nation’s future middle school math teachers.

“Some teachers are getting a world-class preparation, but far too many just don’t have the mathematics background they need to succeed in the classroom,” said Schmidt, University Distinguished Professor of education and statistics. “We have such large variation that we really need to think seriously about standards for teacher preparation.”...

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Journal Articles (3)

Curriculum coherence: an examination of US mathematics and science content standards from an international perspective Journal of Curriculum Studies


In recent years, US curriculum policy has emphasized standards‐based conceptions of curricula in mathematics and science. This paper explores the data from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to argue that the presence of content standards is not sufficient to guarantee curricula that lead to high‐quality instruction and achievement. An examination of the content topics covered in each grade of a group of six of the highest‐achieving TIMSS countries in mathematics and science shows a pattern in which new topics are gradually introduced, are a part of instruction for a few grades, and then often leave the curriculum as separate topics. This contrasts sharply with mapping of topics in the various US national standards in mathematics and science.

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Surveying Educational Opportunity in Mathematics and Science: An International Perspective Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis


To have meaningful policy implications, an [education] indicator is placed in a particular context. That is, within a mature set of indicators, each bears an understandable relationship to the health of the system and to each other so that together they can be viewed as a model of the system (Burstein, Oakes, & Guiton, 1992).

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Who Takes What Math and in Which Track? Using TIMSS to Characterize U.S. Students’ Eighth-Grade Mathematics Learning Opportunities Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis


This article examines the range of eighth-grade mathematics learning opportunities in the United States, drawing on data gathered for the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Sources of variation in the provision of learning opportunities are identified, and patterns in eighth-grade mathematics course offerings are compared across schools. Comparison of students’ learning opportunities includes consideration of the specific course in which they were enrolled, the type of textbook employed for the course, and the proportion of time teachers devoted to teaching specific topics. Analyses revealed a mismatch between the mathematics course title and the textbook employed in the course for nearly 30% of U.S. eighth-grade students. Course-textbook combinations demonstrated significant relationships with the time teachers devoted to specific topics and the international topic difficulty score. Some differences in mathematics learning opportunities were found on the basis of a school’s location (urban, rural, suburban), size, and percentage of minority enrollment.

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