Bucking the Bad Math Trend
As STEM skills are gaining importance in the job market—that is science, technology, engineering, and math—American students’ math test scores are slipping. In fact, a recent study, shows a growing percentage of 12th grade students performing below the basic level in math, and only a quarter of 12th graders tested at or above proficient achievement level, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. So as a parent, what can you do to help your child improve grades and test scores in math?
Select Course Work Wisely
Talk to your children about what their future plans are for college, being sure to discuss career opportunities in STEM. Even if he or she is uncertain now, talking about the future can be motivational. Steering their career path early will help them remain focused and on target for their larger goals. If any questions arise, your child’s teachers can be a great resource for information and advice.
Better Math Gear
You can motivate students and bolster academic performance by providing them with the technology they need to succeed.
“As students get older and enter advanced classes, they will need higher-functioning tools to solve difficult equations quickly, and explore more complex connections and applications,” says Dr. Karen Greenhaus, education technology expert at Casio America, Inc. “Be sure to provide your child with calculators that have menus and processes right on the screen, which will help reduce the amount of time it takes for them to work out the equation and get to more in-depth learning and conceptual understanding.”
Greenhaus notes that it’s also important to find calculators that are permitted on important tests, such as AP, SAT, and SAT II well in advance of taking these tests, so that children understand and quickly utilize the tools they need to support their test-taking.
New models, such as those from Casio, can help students explore math-related activities and exercises easily due to their broader range of functions and faster processing speeds. The PRIZM’s icon-based menu makes usability more intuitive than previous calculator models and USB connectivity helps students take their lessons from calculator to computer. More information can be found at www.CasioEducation.com.
Healthy Study Habits
As a parent, you can help ensure your student maintains habits that foster better learning. When it comes to homework and studying, discourage procrastination. Regularly check in with your child’s progress and ask about upcoming tests. If math is one of your child’s more difficult subjects, suggest he or she start with math homework first and save favorite subjects for later in the evening when their attention may begin to wain.
Make sure students get plenty of sleep. Classroom material is best absorbed when students are alert.
While math scores nationwide are falling, the right tools and study habits can help your student buck the trend.
Top Notch Math Tools for High School Students
In high school, math classes are aimed at college and career prep with classes in advanced algebra, calculus, test practice, and lots of real-life problem-solving. The following apps and websites go above and beyond static math practice by offering the customization, tracking, and differentiation students need to be prepared for learning beyond high school:
CK-12 (ck12.org/student/) Super STEM, social studies resource with highly customizable content perfect for kids with different learning styles, CK-12 could be the key to mastery for some students. Free.
Khan Academy (ck12.org/student/) A solid resource for math and science instruction as well as foundational knowledge in a number of other high school subjects. It offers a good balance between focus and freedom to explore. Free.
PhET Interactive Simulations (phet.colorado.edu)
A massive cache of excellent science and math simulations. Free.
CueThink (cuethink.com) An innovative, community-based platform that helps students plan, strategize, and collaborate to solve math problems. Free to try/paid.
CanFigureIt Geometry (canfigureit.com) A really good way for math students to learn about proofs and explore them from a number of angles. Free.
Desmos (desmos.com) Part calculator, part interactive simulation tool: Desmos is a standout example of inquiry-driven math with super smart instructional supports. Free.
GeoGebra (geogebra.org) Open-source software that lets teachers build or adapt learning experiences to meet their kids’ needs. Free.
Mathalicious (mathalicious.com) Easy-to-deliver lessons use real-world topics tweens like. Free.
Brilliant (brillant.org) Challenge top students with self-guided math, science, and CS courses. Free to try/paid. #
For more information visit StatePoint.net.