Math scores in the US.

October 14, 2009 at 9:03 pm 3 comments

News just came out that national standards in math scores in 4th grade did not improve from 2007 to 2009.  For 2 decades math scores made slow but steady progress.   The span between 2007 and 2009 saw no such progress.   Why? 

Only 39% of 4th graders and 34% of 8th graders preformed at grade level.  To put this into perspective,  in a class of 25 fourth grade students 15 students are not at grade level in math.   What can we do to reverse this trend?


Entry filed under: Education Trends. Tags: , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paul Farrar  |  October 14, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    My info may be outdated, but here goes. Oregon allows and encourages students to use calculators on every math problem from grade 3. Massachusetts tests in two parts, one without a calculator and one with. Eighth grade students in MA outscore Oregon’s students by more than one grade. Use of calculators in teaching and testing should be carefully selected for many reasons. More thoughts upon request.

  • 2. Kate Flavell  |  October 15, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    As someone who worked in industry for 20 years as an Engineer and who is now a math teacher, I see that the bar has been lowered in so many ways. Gone are the days of what they now call “Drill and Kill” – practicing multiplication and long division until students really know it. We use to do 50 – 80 problems every night, including over the weekends. And none of us had calculators, and the answers were not in the back of the book.
    Some teachers today do not check the homework at all. They just give the students points if they attepmted some of the probems. Other teachers put all of the problems on the board the day after a test and all that the students have to do to get back half of the points that they missed is copy the ones they missed. So a student can get 4 out of 20 right on a test which gives them 20% and by copying the ones they missed, get another 40% added to their grade. So now they have a passing grade on the test, without having to put any effort in to learning before the test. Both of these practices do not hold the students accountable for actually doing their work and learning.
    Other teachers are against homework altogether. And that’s all in high school. Elementary students should absolutely not be allowed to use a calculator, and they should not see the distributive property until they know their multiplication tables cold, and can add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions. Fullly half of the students coming into a high school Algebra I class today, do not know their times tables, which makes it impossible to teach them factoring.
    These test results don’t come as a surprise to me.

  • 3. Paul Farrar  |  October 22, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Please see my further comments at


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