What is Singapore Math?

One of the most important statistics used to evaluate the education level of different nations on a global scale is each nation’s math skills. Every few years, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement gives assessment tests in singapore mathmath and science to approximately 500,000 students from across the world. In 2011, the United States ranked 11th and 9th for 4th grade and 8th grade math, respectively. Other studies have placed the United States as low as 32nd.

Interestingly, one country that consistently ranks in the top two for math proficiency is Singapore. This has led educators from many nations, including the United States, to seek out the reason for Singapore’s consistent success in the area of math. Singapore Math, in the United States, is a method of teaching math based on the textbooks and curriculum used in Singapore. In 2010, the New York Times reported that more and more school districts across the United States were adopting this curriculum in an attempt to strengthen their students’ ability to perform in math.

What Makes Singapore Math Different?

Singapore math takes an in-depth, methodical, and thorough approach to math instruction beginning in first grade. Traditionally, most math instruction in the United States begins each grade with an extensive review of topics covered during the previous year. In contrast, Singapore Math eliminates the need for review by taking extra time to cover each mathematical concept in significant depth. So, while it seems like students are moving more slowly, they ultimately save time and learn concepts faster by eliminating review time.

Additionally, Singapore Math focuses on mathematical concepts that build on each other and are therefore essential to progressing to higher levels. It also incorporates pictorial models more frequently than traditional US curriculums in order to connect concrete mathematical experiences and abstract written representations. It also places an emphasis on understanding word problems at an earlier age, in order to prepare students for more complex word problems they will encounter at higher levels.

The intended effect of these efforts is to leave each student more than prepared to enter the next year and be successful as they learn new concepts. In the US, schools are aligning the curriculum to match state and Common Core standards. While it is difficult to transition older students into Singapore Math because it relies so heavily on building foundations early on, review and supplementary materials are available to bring older students up to speed as much as possible.

Should My Student Learn Singapore Math?

It is too early to tell if Singapore Math is just a fad or if it is a wave of the future for math instruction across the country. However, it has caught the attention of many educators from all around the United States. If you are interested in pursuing Singapore Math instruction for your student, you should contact their school (or other schools in your area) to inquire if they incorporate it in their curriculum. Alternatively, independent instruction of Singapore Math is available through private tutoring. It might be just the thing your student needs to achieve their full potential in the area of math.