Jo Boaler cites evidence that contradicts her claims about maths facts and timed tests

Filling the pail


Jo Boaler is the Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University. She has become a familiar figure in the world of maths education and has a knack for publicity, often by taking quite radical positions on the teaching of mathematics.

For instance, Boaler has advocated against asking students to memorise multiplication tables and then testing students on this. Multiplication facts such as 6 x 6 = 36 are part of a larger set of ‘maths facts’ that teachers have traditionally asked students to learn by heart.

Part of Boaler’s argument is that maths facts are not as essential as this practice implies. She has claimed, for instance, that, “I have never memorised my times tables. I still have not memorised my times tables. It has never held me back, even though I work with maths every day.”

The other part of her argument is that timed tests of maths…

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