DailyDirt: How Does Teaching Math Really Add Up?
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Year after year, news reports state that the US has horrible test scores in math compared to other countries. This leads commenters to speculate on the dismal future of the US economy and to complain about the weaknesses of the entire US educational system. However, international tests have never correlated that well with the relative economic performance of a country, so it's hard to see how bad test scores would accurately predict future economic rankings. There are plenty of things to try to fix in the US education system, but perhaps we should be planning a longer term strategy (instead of trying to turn the ship every election year) and focus on the evidence of what produces good educational results (if we can even agree on what results we want).
- Teach for America has had its share of critics and supporters, debating the effectiveness of TFA teachers compared to traditional teachers, but it looks like students of TFA teachers score better on year-end math exams. This doesn't mean that TFA teachers are better trained at math education, though. The study that found this correlation also notes that TFA teachers themselves performed significantly better on a test of math knowledge than traditional teachers. [url]
- Wannabe scientists may be encouraged to know that Harvard professor emeritus E. O. Wilson believes that many of the most successful scientists today are semiliterate in math. But if you're bad at math, you better be good at collaborating with people who *are* good at math. (This applies to non-scientists, too.) Also, this might not apply to the most successful scientists in the future. [url]
- Emphasizing hard work as the key to learning and mastering mathematic concepts may produce better results, rather than letting students believe they are not "math people" by nature. Ultimately, doing well on math tests is not the goal, and we may want to encourage the next generation of kids to believe that their math skills can be improved through persistence. [url]