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Challenging the conventional wisdom on calculus

Science Daily – Sarah Gonser

“Calculus. The word alone is enough strike terror into the hearts of even the most accomplished students, but for those who break out in cold sweats at the thought of differentiation rules and integral tables, Philip Sadler and Gerhard Sonnert are here to offer some hope.” (more)

Of course algebra is important. It’s also a huge problem.

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“This was the headline this week of a story in the Deseret News in Utah about Brigham Young University President Kevin Worthen and his wife, Peggy: “Don’t quit because of fear or algebra, Worthens tell BYU students.” The algebra part wasn’t a joke: Peggy Worthen earned a bachelor’s degree at the school when she was in her 40s and nearly didn’t get it because she initially flunked her algebra final. She eventually passed, but the subject has been a dream-killer for a lot of people who have sought two- and four-year degrees but haven’t been able to get through the required algebra class.”(more)

Trying to Solve a Bigger Math Problem

The New York Times – Emily Hanford

“Algebra is clearly a stumbling block for many incoming college students. Nearly 60 percent of community college students end up in remedial math — that’s more than double the number in remedial English. Four-year public colleges are not far behind. According to government studies, 40 percent of their incoming students take at least one remedial class; 33 percent are in math. One explanation is obvious: limited academic preparation. Another is that much of the community college population is older, and rusty at factoring quadratics and finding inverse functions. Less obvious is that students end up in remediation who don’t need to be there.”(more)

Learning the Singapore way

The Bangkok Post – Staff Writer

“Singapore’s climb to the top of global education rankings has put the spotlight on how an education system that had been seen as somewhat too competitive, stressful and exam-oriented has evolved into one of the best in the world. Last year, the wealthy city-state, which had already been doing well in global educational rankings, outperformed the rest of the world in the OECD’s PISA survey, which tested around 540,000 15-year-old students in 72 countries and economies on science, reading, math and collaborative problem-solving.”(more)

5 ways to help your child cope with math fatigue

Trib Live – Staff Writer

” Many kids aren’t math whizzes and have no desire to be. But it’s a key skill for many careers, so they need to plow through, and parents need to support that effort. Steve Perry, a contributor to CNN and MSNBC and the author of “Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve,” offers these suggestions:.”(more)

Finger tracing can lift student performance in math

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Students who trace certain maths problems with a finger are able to solve them more quickly and easily, University of Sydney research shows. Studies involving 275 Sydney school children aged between nine and 13 found that tracing over elements of maths problems enhanced how they understood and solved problems in geometry and algebra. Tests revealed students who used their finger to trace over practice examples while simultaneously reading geometry or arithmetic material were able to complete tasks more quickly and correctly than those who did not use the same technique.”(more)