Pennsylvania is learning the hard way that modernizing math instruction does not always further comprehension. The state’s students are faltering in math placement tests, in spite of demonstrating achievement elsewhere. As a result, colleges and universities are having to rewrite textbooks and add remedial courses so their students can catch-up on math concepts and skills.
The college math professors in the state blame the emphasis placed on student testing combined with introducing higher-level math to increasingly younger students. “Many bright students are hurried through algebra and trigonometry courses on their way toward statistics and calculus,” said Marie Wilde, chairwoman of the mathematical and information sciences program at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylavania. Wilde agrees that “teaching to the test” has contributed to the gap in student math skills.
Parents in Pennsylvania’s upper Bucks County successfully lobbied their school district to add a traditional math program that focuses on the basics this fall.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.