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Making Math Instruction Add Up


Maryland officials have joined a national debate about reforming the mathematics curriculum by narrowing annual objectives from dozens to three, according to this Baltimore Sun report. So-called reform math, often termed “fuzzy math” by critics, had teachers focus on teaching the theory behind the formulas, resulting in a long list of conceptual goals for each grade while downplaying the ability to demonstrate skills with pencil and paper. Now, some of the same folks who celebrated reform math a couple of decades ago are pushing a back-to-basics approach that would require students in each grade to demonstrate just three fundamental skills. For fourth grade, for example, these would include multiplication and division, decimals and fractions, and areas. Call it reformed reform math.

Our friends at the Thomas Fordham Foundation have much more about the controversy here, including a state-by-state assessment of math standards.