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Why Math Education in the U.S. Doesn’t Add Up

The Scientific American – Jo Boaler and Pablo Zoido

“In December the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) will announce the latest results from the tests it administers every three years to hundreds of thousands of 15-year-olds around the world. In the last round, the U.S. posted average scores in reading and science but performed well below other developed nations in math, ranking 36 out of 65 countries. We do not expect this year’s results to be much different. Our nation’s scores have been consistently lackluster. Fortunately, though, the 2012 exam collected a unique set of data on how the world’s students think about math. The insights from that study, combined with important new findings in brain science, reveal a clear strategy to help the U.S. catch up.”(more)

This NFL Player Wants to Get More Kids into STEM

Fox News Business – Serena Elavia

“Getting kids interested in math and science can be a tough thing to do in classrooms. The statistics are sobering. According to data from the National Math + Science Initiative Opens a New Window. , just 44% of high school graduates are ready for college level math, while 36% are ready for college level science. That’s why Texas Instruments (TI) (TXN) has created a series of programs Opens a New Window. and curriculum materials to promote STEM education by inserting the lessons into their daily lives and attaching it to what they like. “The goal is to have see kids see basic math principles all around them. We want them to pursue more advanced mathematics in middle and high school,” Peter Balyta, President of Texas Instruments Education Technology tells TI has rolled out multiple programs like the STEM Behind Hollywood and have an ongoing partnership with NASA to engage young students.”(more)

Empowering preschool children with the language of math adds up to stronger skills

Medical X-Press – Amy Patterson Neubert

“Teaching preschool children simple math-related vocabulary and concepts, such as “more,” “a lot,” “some” and “fewer,” improves their mathematical skills, according to a new a study from Purdue University. “This approach is not new, but we believe this is the first study to show that intentionally teaching and exposing young children to such language concepts makes a difference in their ability to learn basic math skills,” said David Purpura, an assistant professor of human development and family studies. “We found that when children were read stories with age-appropriate mathematical language and pictures, and then discussed these specific concepts in small groups, they scored higher on math tests for not just these specific words, but also math skills that were not covered in the books.” The results are published in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. Mathematical language is one of the strongest predictors of children’s early mathematical success, so Purpura wanted to determine how effective early exposure to mathematical language could be for children ages 3-5.”(more)

The Art of Teaching Math and Science

Quanta Magazine – Thomas Lin, Siobhan Roberts, Natalie Wolchover and Emily Singer

“Time. Pencils down. As a nation, we’ve sweated over tests, dissected underperforming schools, gutted standards and curricula, and rinsed and repeated. We’ve thrown the classroom desk-chair at the problem and still earn no better than a C-minus when it comes to math and science literacy. No test is perfect, but according to the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, 15-year-old Americans ranked 27th in math and 20th in science out of 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The puzzle persists in a superposition of states: Are standards too low or — provocatively — too high? How do we adequately and equitably fund schools? Are we teaching the right stuff, in the right order? Or is it more about the process of inquiry? Do standardized tests help anyone besides the testing industry? Are traditional classrooms conducive to learning? Should we add technology or subtract it? These issues demand attention. But one variable that’s too often lost amid public hand wringing over test scores and new standards is arguably the most vital: the fallible humans charged with imparting an appetite and appreciation for learning.”(more)

A Teacher’s Guide to Helping Kids With Common Core Math (Relax, Doesn’t Involve Actual Math)

The 74 Million – Suraj Gopal

“As a teacher, it took me two years to adjust to the shift in standards, curricula and assessments, and mind you, I was working full time. So I’m not surprised to hear that the substantial shift in academic expectations brought by the Common Core has left many parents puzzled. The good news for parents is that I’d never advise them to study mathematics in order to help their children. After all, instruction from an expert is what they should expect from their children’s teachers. I’ve noticed over the years that even the slightest mistake in my teaching leads to misconceptions that take tremendous effort to undo. So, leave the main instruction to the pros.”(more)

The Global Search For Education: New Global Study Offers Insights On Math Learning

The Huffington Post – C.M. Rubin

“What can we learn from the teaching and learning practices of mathematics — school to school and country to country? In 2012, PISA studied students’ performance in mathematics, and additionally, collected data from students and school principals in 70 countries about how teachers teach mathematics. The goal was to explore what teaching and learning strategies related to higher student achievement by way of answering these 10 questions.”(more)