Mastery and Continuity
October 13, 2011
Three years ago Singapore Math was adopted as Walden’s core math program. It has provided depth and structure along with a common vocabulary for all the students Kindergarten through Sixth Grades. One of the main reasons for the adoption of the program is the fact that it is built on concept mastery. With a focus on 12-14 concepts per year, the SM curriculum not only allows for a depth of understanding, but year-to-year, the students revisit and build upon many of the same concepts they practiced and understood the previous year.
“The presentation is astonishingly clear and child-friendly, yet is mathematically sophisticated,” said Thomas Parker, a professor of mathematics at Michigan State University. “Students learn through carefully-designed problem sets. By grade six, the Singapore texts are one to two years ahead of U.S. texts, and the students are extremely well-prepared to start algebra.”
Mathematical concepts are reviewed at higher grades with increasing difficulty which promotes the expansion of a child’s foundation. As educators we understand the need for continuity as it offers children a strong sense of confidence. “I’ve seen this before.” “I know how to do this.” As parents it may seem as though your child is “doing it again” and “isn’t being challenged.” There is strong developmental understanding that as children gain confidence in what they are doing they are also preparing themselves for harder material. Through both the developmental and academic lens of learning, it is having a combination of both mastery and continuity that enables the students to grasp concepts more thoroughly and gain confidence in their ability to solidify their understanding. Embarking on our third year, we are confident that Singapore Math does this well.
The term, “Singapore Math”, came into use in the U.S.A. around the year 2000 when US academics, homeschoolers, schools and the media started referring to our books as Singapore Math® books. Since then, Singapore Math is the descriptive term used by customers, educators and the media to refer to our company and the math books that we distribute. The term Singapore Math books is not used in Singapore, where they just use the term maths books (what other math would they be using!)
Singapore students who scored top in TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) 1995, 1999 and 2003 were all using the Primary Mathematics series. We can, therefore, say that the Primary Mathematics series is a time tested and documented math success story. We are therefore pleased to have chosen this series to adapt to Primary Mathematics US Edition.