Math in Focus, a mathematics program based on Singapore-style instruction, was a little better than other math programs that used hands-on activities, according to a randomized controlled trial published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness.
In the first experimental evaluation of a program based on Singapore Math in the United States, the study found students in grades 3-5 scored higher on a standardized test in classes that used the Singapore Math program than those using other curricula. The program focuses on teaching students to visualize and make mental models of problems, emphasizing word problems rather than memorization.
However, the researchers found not all the classes fully implemented the Singapore program, and some other types of curricula used similar features, such as inquiry-based lessons.
A version of this article appeared in the November 16, 2016 edition of Education Week as Math