July 18, 2024

Math Study Results

Many studies and exams have demonstrated that American students are at best second-rate.  Here’s another one.  The crux of it:

Forty percent of U.S. eighth-grade students believe they do well in math, far higher than the 4 percent of Japanese students and 6 percent of Korean students.However, U.S. students scored much worse than their counterparts in the two countries.

Tom Loveless – and the name says it all, doesn’t it? – is the study’s author.

One reason the United States does not score as high, Loveless suggested, is that American textbooks are not as challenging as their overseas counterparts. Loveless pointed to some textbooks that have twice as many pages as Singaporean books and are filled with stories, games, colorful pictures, and “not as much math.”

Math is the easiest subject in the world to learn.  There is a right answer to every math problem.  This fact, if handled deftly, creates a feedback loop that allows students to earn their self-confidence rather than having it gifted to them by a failing system.

Loveless hasn’t got things completely figured out, though.

Showing students that math is relevant to their daily lives, a common teaching tactic, may be futile, Loveless said.  Instead, he said, teachers need to stick to the basics.

Teachers?  Are teachers writing the fluff-filled textbooks our kids use?  Are they creating the state-mandated curriculms?  Are they the ones basing the definition of learning on a set of multiple choice questions?

Loveless has got the numbers, presumedly – this article is light on that aspect – but he’s got a bit of learning to do himself, evidently.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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