The “More than one way to teach math ” gambit

traditional math

A Dec 3, 2016 op-ed by Christopher Phillips in the New York Times, talks about how Americans have been bad at math since 1895.  This in itself is an interesting claim, given that for a time period from the 40’s through the mid 60’s, math scores on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills made a steady climb in the states of Iowa, Indiana and Minnesota.  See here for further information. It’s also interesting from the standpoint that a glance at older textbooks from the 1890’s into the 1940’s and 50’s, shows the types of math questions that students were expected to master, which an alarming number of students today have difficulty doing. Furthermore, going back to the 1980’s, many of the students in first year algebra classes had fairly good mastery of fractions, decimals, percents and general computation essentials. In today’s first year algebra classes it is not…

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