Articles and links for parents, mathematicians, and educators

We highly recommend visiting NYC Hold, an American national nonpartisan advocacy organization working for improvements in the quality of mathematics education in US schools.  The website is an excellent resource for articles which will be of interest to all stakeholders in math education.

Parents should visit the section What’s a Parent to do?, which provides useful advice for parents.

A selection of articles on math education written by mathematicians:

Good Intentions are not Enough by Richard Askey.

Math Education in Elementary and Secondary Schools by Pengfei Guan.

The Role of Long Division in the K-12 Curriculum by David Klein and R. James Milgram.

Algorithms, Algebra, and Access by Stanley Ocken.

How Experts Dumb Down Math Education by David Klein and Jerry Rosen.

K-12 Calculator Usage and College Grades by W. Stephen Wilson and Daniel Q. Naiman.

Can There be “Research in Mathematical Education”? by Herb S. Wilf.

In Defense of Mathematical Foundations by W. Stephen Wilson.

Basic Skills Versus Conceptual Understanding : A Bogus Dichotomy in Mathematics Education by Hung-Hsi Wu.

What’s Sophisticated about Elementary Mathematics? Plenty – That’s Why Elementary Schools Need Math Teachers by Hung-Hsi Wu.

The Mis-Education of Math Teachers by Hung-Hsi Wu.

Ask the Cognitive Scientist:  Practice Makes Perfect — But Only if You Practice Beyond the Point of Perfection by Daniel T. Willingham.

More from Cognitive Science:  Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Doesn’t Work…  (Paul A. Kirschner et al.) a summary of research findings (supporting basic  common sense) about the pitfalls of constructivist classroom methodology and discovery learning.

Research articles in cognitive psychology

JUMP Math, a charitable numeracy organization, has compiled a list of research articles in cognitive psychology which support math teaching techniques that incorporate feedback, worked examples, scaffolding, explicit instruction, extensive practice, and the automaticity of basic number facts, among other things.

We draw particular attention to the supporting research for Barrier 7, Barrier 8, and Barrier 10: “To succeed in later grades, students must master the concepts and skills taught in the elementary curriculum. But many students never master these skills and concepts, even though the vast majority are capable of doing so.”

US National Math Advisory Panel Final Report

In 2006, the United States President appointed the National Math Advisory Panel to advise on the best use of scientifically based research to advance the teaching and learning of mathematics. The Panel consisted of mathematicians, math educators, and cognitive psychologists who were charged with recommending ways in which to improve mathematics achievement for all students based on available research.   For a summary of the recommendations, visit this page.

“Why isn’t my child learning to add down columns, long division, etc.?” (Why aren’t “standard algorithms” taught?)

Wonder no longer.