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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Math is an important part of education by Richard A. Carranza

writes, "We want our students to learn a lot of things in school and one of them is math, a lot of math."

Photo: San Francisco Examiner

But it can be a challenging subject to teach well. In an often-cited national poll, a thousand middle schoolers agreed with this statement: “I’d rather eat broccoli than do math.” Maybe you felt the same way back in the day. 

This sentiment is not about broccoli and it’s not even about math. It’s about how most of us have been taught math. We have a problem with math education in the United States. 

Let’s look at the numbers
We are 36th out of 58 nations on a key mathematics assessment (Program for International Student Assessment). And we have a persistent gap in levels of math achievement between groups of students. 

Even our highest-achieving students are not keeping up with students from other countries. 

Frankly, if the current system of teaching math worked, we would see these statistics improving. 

Research shows that the way math is taught in U.S. classrooms leads students (including our highest-performing students) to not perform up to their potential in math. 

And contrary to what many may believe, grouping students by ability (tracking) actually lowers achievement in math for most students. 

Source: San Francisco Examiner

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