A mother (and math teacher) wrote me the other day regarding ever-changing requirements for high school math in order to enter U.S. colleges. Many parents often ask me questions about math, such as:
1) Which home-school curriculum is the best?
2) If my child transfers from a U.S. school to a private school in another country, how will she fare in math?
3) What about transfers from country to country or from home-school to private or public school?
It would really be nice if there were easy answers, pat mathematical formulas, to recommend to concerned parents.
Many say that the math texts themselves are not as critical as the one teaching the math and the one using the text. But what do you do if you are average in math and your student who is average in math wants to attend college? How can you best prepare them?
Let me offer you some tips:
Make a long-term plan and evaluate it yearly:
As part of your planning, check to see that what you are using at the elementary level provides a solid foundation for the secondary level.
Insure that your plan includes 4 years of high school math.
Read College Board’s article “Why Math Matters.”
Choose a Curriculum that is recognized for providing solid preparation:
The Well-Trained Mind forum surveyed parents who rated the following curriculum to be the best preparation for college math—28% Chalkdust, 24% Foerster’s, 10% Singapore, 10% A Beka, 8% Saxon, 8% Lial’s, 12% other.
Here is a chart and article ranking countries and states in math abilities of students. The number one state (number 9 overall) is Massachusetts. In 2004, an article was written about this state’s poor math performance and a decision of many districts to switch to Singapore textbooks for math. Considering Singapore is ranked #2 world-wide that was not a bad idea! Check out the chart to see where your state (or country of residence) is on the scale. U.K., by the way, was second to last.
There is another article and map showing the U.S. states and their math/science rating. Top 5 states in order are: Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and New Hampshire. Texas, California, and 7 others fall below average. Alabama, Oklahoma, and West Virginia are far below average. Louisiana and Mississippi are the worst.
Math Recommendations for the non-traditional student:
Compare and Contrast Curriculum being used: