"Schools could improve students' sluggish math scores by hammering home the basics, such as addition and multiplication, and then increasing the focus on fractions and geometry, a presidential panel recommended Thursday."This is key because when you talk relevance to kids about math you can say, "Are you ever planning to cook? Do home repair? Shop? Balance your checkbook? You'll need decimals, fractions and multiplication."
When you talk rigor you need these basics because:
"Because success in algebra is linked to higher graduation rates and college enrollment, the panel focused on improving areas that form the foundation for algebra. Average U.S. math scores on a variety of tests drop around middle school, when algebra coursework typically begins. That trend led the panel to focus on what's happening before kids take algebra.
A major goal for students should be mastery of fractions, since that is a "severely underdeveloped" area and one that's important to later algebra success, the report states."Conceptual versus basics?
"The report says both quick and effortless recall of facts and conceptual understanding of math are beneficial."
Last they talked about a societal problem:
"Teachers need to emphasize that effort pays off, because too many kids feel that they are just not good at math and give up too early, according to the report.
"In many ways this country seems to have a culture of belief in talent, or a talent-driven approach to math _ that either you can do it or you can't," Faulkner said.
He added that much more research is needed to understand why certain teachers are able to boost their students' math skills. "Very little is known about these things, surprisingly little I think to this panel _ given the importance of that question," Faulkner said."You hear this all the time (Oprah even says she's not good at math). I used to think I wasn't "good at math" until I realized that I had little self-confidence in that area but that math can be learned and practiced and you can get better in your math skills.
It's sad that many people pass this onto kids.