The Truth And Myths
Why Singapore maths teaching is the envy of the world (and nothing to do with rote learning).
Need To Know
- Singapore consistently top the international benchmarking studies for maths teaching
- A highly effective approach to teaching maths based on research and evidence
- Builds students’ mathematical fluency without the need for rote learning
- Introduces new concepts using Bruner’s Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach
- Pupils learn to think mathematically as opposed to reciting formulas they don’t understand
- Teaches mental strategies to solve problems such as drawing a bar model
Singapore Maths has produced a world-class level of achievement for many years. Singapore students scored first in the past three Trends in International Mathematics and Science Studies (TIMSS). These studies are conducted by the International Association for Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). Singapore's 4th and 8th grade students scored top place for Mathematics in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007.
The Department for Education, the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (NCETM), the National Curriculum Review Committee and OFSTED have all emphasised the pedagogy and heuristics developed in Singapore. Today, maths textbooks based on the Singapore Maths approach are being used in thousands of schools across the UK and have been widely adopted by the Department for Education’s Maths Hubs.
One of the findings in the TIMSS report is that most countries see a drop in comprehension in year 8 while Singapore students continue to excel which indicates a strong foundational base. As well as having a greater amount of high achievers, a significantly higher percentage of pupils in Singapore attain intermediate level than in the UK showing that the challenged learners benefit the most and retain their level.