Math Initiative Bill Online 2010 Session 2009 Session Singapore Bar Model Example  Brilliant Singapore Math example set in Narnia Full MA Study (Summary / Detail Report) Longitudinal Study ReleasedSingapore Math WORKSearly releasePresentation by Dr. Bisk from Massachusetts Presentation to Utah Legislature Education Committee on 91708 (free download) Dr. Yeap Ban Har's Singapore Math Powerpoint Presentation in Utah on 61208 (free download) Singapore Math: Simple or Complex (article) Agency Based Education 
ResourcesThis page is to provide some support documents for the letter of recommendations. It is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but an explanation of where the thought processes came from that went into the document. Some of the information presented here is duplicated from the Singapore Math Facts page. Item 1: CurriculumFrom E.D. Hirsch's Core Knowledge website:
John Hoven, PhD (Economist in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; Copresident of the Gifted and Talented Association of Montgomery County, MD):
Why Singapore Math?Singapore math is a brilliantly laid out program that teaches students simple (and visual) tools to address complex problems. It is not spoon fed math, but asks students to think beyond simple single step problems all too common in American texts. In Singapore, students prove answers to understand why math works the way it does. It's an absolute science and Singapore gives students the opportunity to delve deeply into comprehending this beautiful language. Here are some resources in the media and other articles which you can learn more about this program. Comparing Singapore Math to Investigations Math In L.A., Singapore Math has Added Value Singapore Math: Simple or Complex? Examples of Singapore Math Homework Pages Here are some examples of Singapore math challenging word problems. 2nd grade: A toy bear weighs 12 oz. It is 7 oz lighter than a toy seal. Why not use Saxon math?Saxon is a top notch program and in selecting Singapore math over it we do not say it is not a great program to use. Saxon is used by 8 out of the top 10 private schools in Utah as well as most charter schools and many public schools. It is a very effective program for teaching math, especially so if teachers are not very math fluent themselves which is especially the case in younger grades. However, we want teachers that are math fluent. We want teachers who understand the math they are to teach. Singapore math demands that, and where teachers are trained the results are superior. In Arizona, the top school for several years on state tests was a Saxon school. In a recent round of testing they were passed up by a school that implemented Singapore math. In other areas of the country, Singapore's success is being taken note of. In a recent article concerning Los Angeles schools that were using Singapore math, huge improvements in scores were pouring in after just a year on the program. (LA Times) Singapore math is catching fire across the country and for good reason. It's been proven to work very well for the last 12 years as the world leader. Why only use one program?A common argument against standardizing on a math program is that no one program meets everyone's needs. This can be true if the program being used is deficient in one of the areas that students might need to learn from. However, Singapore math, requires virtually no remediation and every student learns. In block 3 below you will see a graph that shows Singapore's students have a 0.2% remediation rate for those that don't pass a highstakes test after 6th grade. Furthermore, after one year in remediation, those students are ready to proceed. In Utah, 20% of our seniors can't pass the UBSCT. Singapore math is as close to a silver bullet as anything available. It is visual, auditory (mental math), tactile (manipulatives), and rigorous. With Singapore math there is no need for another program.
Item 2: StandardsSome of these support items are addressed on the home page but duplicated here to provide additional information. Utah: Our state standards received a D from the Fordham Foundation and a C from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In 2007, after enormous efforts to get our state math standards raised, a committee was chosen to do so but failed to follow the directions given to them. The legislature had instructed them to create standards that would result in "world class standards" but the people in charge of the committee merely sought a revision instead of a rewrite. They also neglected to compare our standards to top countries like Singapore and Japan. While the new standards are an improvement, they are not what they need to be for our children to get the education they need. For more on the history of the Utah standards issue and why they still need revised, see these pages: http://www.oaknorton.com/mathupdates/20070811.cfm http://www.oaknorton.com/mathupdates/20070926.cfm To see the Singapore primary math standards:
Item 3: Assessments/TestingPoll: Math, yes; standardized tests, maybe (AP/Yahoo News) Will school testing overhaul make the grade? (Salt Lake Tribune) Skilltest failures frustrate lawmakers (Deseret News) Compared to the United States as a whole on the last TIMSS exam, Singapore has 44% of their 8th graders at an advanced comprehension of math, while the United States languishes at 7%. WE CAN DO BETTER! Imagine a state where 40% of the population had an advanced understanding of math. Think of the high tech companies with high paying jobs that would flock to a state with that kind of workforce and vision. Utah can and should lead the country by adopting Singapore math. Comparing our test failure rates, this chart shows Utah's UBSCT test administered to students graduating and shows that 20% of them can't pass 8th grade math work by the time they graduate. In Singapore, in order to move from elementary school to secondary school you must pass a highstakes exam which has challenging questions on it. The difference is drastic. Utah: Compared to peer states we rank dead last in math scores (Deseret News 11/2/07).
Item 4: Algebra"Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education show that success in secondary school algebra is the single greatest predictor of success in collegenot just for engineering and science majors, but for majors in all fields." It is important as we move forward that we have a cohesive system of education, especially in the K8 range, which consistently and efficiently moves children into the all critical algebra program with a solid foundation. For that reason we are recommending that Singapore math be used K8. Above that grade we can examine other strong programs for upper coursework. From the Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel:
Item 5: Student ProgressStudents are different. There are some students who are more advanced than others, especially in a very specific subject area like math. Those students should have the opportunity to progress faster than other students to avoid the boredom that results from their mind not being stimulated at the pace they need. Conversely, students challenged by a subject should be able to receive remedial help. In Singapore, only a tiny fraction of their students (0.2%) have not mastered their basic skills by the end of 6th grade. Their curriculum places a premium on ensuring the basics are mastered sufficiently so that students can have success when they get to the critical algebra coursework. From the Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel:
Item 6: Instruction time and scheduleUtah State Rule R277419 requires local school boards to conduct school for at least 990 instructional hours and 180 days each school year. Most high schools in the state of Utah have switched from the seven period traditional schedule to the block schedule of eight periods with no increase in instruction time. Although the total instruction time is the same, the result of this switch is to take 1/8 of the instruction time out of each individual class to create the eighth class period. Thus important academic core courses such as English, math, science, and social sciences have lost 1/8 of the instruction time. Oneeighth of 180 days is 22.5 school days or one whole month of instruction time. Consider a chemistry class that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a couple hours each time. If the student is sick on Thursday, he hasn't just missed one class, he's missed days of material that would have been taught Wednesday, Friday, and Monday, till the next class. Difficult subjects require daily doses and pondering to integrate concepts into your mind. It's far easier to approach a topic in smaller chunks and retain knowledge than to take it in like a fire hose. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics recommends (http://www.nctm.org/about/content.aspx?id=6348), “All students need to be engaged in learning challenging mathematics for at least one hour a day at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels.”
Item 7: Mathematically knowledgeable classroom teachers7a: Teacher preparationWithout strong math skills, teachers who teach math don't have the understanding of the subject necessary to pass those skills on to a student. Several studies have been done which bear this out and here are links to a couple of recent articles concerning it. Study: USU Math Prep Faulty (Salt Lake Tribune) Schools for teachers flunk math (AP/Provo Herald) Five Standards for the Mathematics Preparation of Elementary Teachers
NCTM President Skip Fennell:
7b: Teacher LeadersAmong schools and districts that implement Singapore math, it is common knowledge that the only way to do it right is to provide specific and direct training in the methodology Singapore uses. It is a bit different from a typical American classroom and focuses more heavily on the use of mental math. This focus allows students to build strong neural skills and increased concentration by breaking apart problems in their heads and being able to perform calculations much faster as they progress. Thus teachers must also be able to think through problems in this manner and be able to teach children to do so. To learn this method cannot be done by book study but must be done by someone trained in the method. Utah will need a full time trainer in the state office that can put on workshops for district personnel either directly or via remote broadcast. This trainer must be someone highly skilled in this methodology that can create trainers in each district and support their efforts. Not all teachers love math. Not all teachers can teach math. Those who can do it effectively and have a love for the subject are better prepared to transmit their knowledge to students and instill in the students a love for the subject. Those teachers should become specialists and focus on honing their skills to do that more effectively. From the Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel:
7c: Teacher EvaluationIn every profession there are professionals who are successful in their field and there are those who are not. Teachers are not exempt from this any more than accountants or engineers. Merit pay must be coupled with real accountability where teachers can be let go for not performing their jobs. Districts statewide developing plans based on educator performance From the Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel:
7d: Professional DevelopmentSingapore teachers are entitled to 100 hours per year of professional development. Utah should adopt this practice (particularly for math) and gear the training in the content of the course materials. Summer is the downtime of the year for teachers. They get time off and their pay reflects that they are not at work for a large portion of the year. Math teachers should have summer classes they attend that are approved by a mathematics department at a university to increase their knowledge of the subject matter. Science teachers should likewise have classes to attend. The teachers would be paid for their time taking the classes to further their professional development, and the classes would be paid for by the district. From the Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel:
