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Reforming math education.

Reforming math education

The way mathematics is taught and learned in U.S. schools, from kindergarden to college, requires a major overhaul, says a National Academy of Sciences report. It notes that three out of four students leave school without mastering enough mathematics to "cope with either on-the-job demands for problem solving or college expectations for mathematical literacy."

Recognizing the failure of the "new math" reforms imposed several decades ago, the report emphasizes the need for a new approach that establishes and builds on "appropriate national expectations." It urges the adoption of a coordinated national strategy to be implemented voluntarily by local school systems. One key proposal calls for a shift in mathematics education at all levels away from pencil-and-paper exercises and rote memorization toward using calculators and computers and solving more realistic problems.

The report, called "Everybody Counts," is the first of several addressing current problems in mathematics education. Later this year, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics will release the first detailed set of standards for teaching mathematics and the Mathematical Science Education Board will propose a framework for curriculum revision.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Feb 4, 1989
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