Why are U.S. students bad at mathematics?

In a commentary piece recently published in the U.S. News, Ms. Elie Venezky, discussed her views on why U.S. students are bad at mathematics. She highlights how in the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 33 percent of eighth-graders tested proficient in math at grade level. What’s more concerning is how this percentage has stayed more or less constant since the NAEP conducted in 2013.

She cites that the problem lies in the way maths is taught in schools where too much instruction is “based on getting as much information into kids heads as quickly as possible, because standards must be met and tests must be taken.” However, this style of teaching “doesn’t lend itself to retention or a depth of understanding that lets students apply their knowledge to new types of questions”.

Thus, she calls for the need to implement long-term fixes to the educational system and change the mindset that every student learns the same way at the same speed. Instead, there is a need to go more in depth and show students how different subjects of maths are related and used in real life. There is also a need to incorporate apps that teach students to do the right way through building problem recognition and application skills that allows students to learn at their own speed, in a comfortable and non-stressful way.

Ultimately, understanding the concept is always better than rote learning. Ensuring that students understand concepts will, as the author says, ensure that students are able to apply the knowledge and skills. Another challenge is of course how to keep students engaged and interested in what they are learning. This will undoubtedly facilitate their understanding of concepts and material taught. Thus, at AFEA, the emphasis is always on ensuring students understand what is taught, and not just memorising them.

If you want to read more from the commentary piece, click the following link:


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