Sunday, March 9, 2008

Singapore Math: the quiet revolution

Over at Kitchen Table Math, I cross-posted about an article in today's Los Angeles Times: At L.A. school, Singapore math has added value. If the 31 percentage point increase in one year at Ramona Elementary in Hollywood is not a clear indication of the power of Singapore Math, I really don't know what is.

It truly is a must read even if, like me, you're already convinced of the many virtues of those thin, unassuming
Singapore Math books.

The National Mathematics Advisory Panel, appointed by President Bush, will issue a report Thursday that is expected to endorse K-8 math reforms that, in many ways, mirror the Singapore curriculum.

The report could also signal a cease-fire in the state's math wars, which raged between traditionalists and reformers throughout the 1990s and shook up math teachers nationwide. Fundamentalists called for a return to basics; reformers demanded a curriculum that would emphasize conceptual understanding.

Mathematicians on both sides of the divide say the Singapore curriculum teaches both. By hammering on the basics, it instills a deep understanding of key concepts, they say.
While the panel isn't explicitly endorsing Singapore Math, if you place existing math curricula side-by-side in hopes of finding one that will fit the bill, this little Asian wonder certainly rises to the top.

Sagher, the Illinois professor, said that he would love to see Ramona Elementary become a training ground for L.A. Unified teachers and that Singapore math could radiate out from its Hollywood beachhead. Districtwide, only 43% of fifth-graders last year scored at grade level or above in math, 33 points below Ramona students. "If LAUSD is smart enough to do it, it will be a revolution," he said.

I say, let the revolution begin.

At L.A. school, Singapore math has added value
By Mitchell Landsberg
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer March 9, 2008

UPDATE - March 10, 2008

Chime in on the LA Times story about Singapore Math HERE.

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