Utah's Math Future


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Math Initiative Bill Online

2010 Session
-Sponsor declined to post the bill due to economic circumstances. Good news: some schools are piloting the program anyway.

2009 Session
SB 159 Text
SB 159 Status

Letter of Recommendations

(Letter-Short Version)

Signers & Comments

State Board Support

America's Dire Straits

Singapore Bar Model Example - Brilliant

Singapore Math example set in Narnia

Singapore and Utah Math

Letter Resources

FAQ/About Us

Dissenting Comments

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Full MA Study (Summary / Detail Report)

Longitudinal Study Released-Singapore Math WORKS-early release-Presentation by Dr. Bisk from Massachusetts

Presentation to Utah Legislature Education Committee on 9-17-08 (free download)

Dr. Yeap Ban Har's Singapore Math Powerpoint Presentation in Utah on 6-12-08 (free download)

Singapore Math: Simple or Complex (article)

Agency Based Education

Singapore Math Facts and The State of Utah's Math

“Singapore ranked first in the world in math and third in science, in spite of the fact that the country was ranked next to last for the level of home educational resources available. In other words, Singapore’s impressive academic results seem to have very little to do with an advantageous home environment and a great deal to do with an effective school system structure organized around a solid, rigorous curriculum."
-Dr. E.D. Hirsch

Why Singapore Math?  Simply put, it's the world leader.  Start with the best, do it right, and then look to improve.

Here are some simple facts about Utah's current math situation and Singapore, the world leader in math comprehension and knowledge.

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.

TIMSS Comparison

To those who say the TIMSS exam only tests the best in Singapore or only those in the top schools geared toward math, Dr. Jim Milgram at Stanford has stated, "The TIMSS scores are over a CROSS SECTION of the community. They reflect as accurately as is possible the entire population. The same with our kids. So, when one looks at our top 5% they "perform similarly to the top 10 - 20% of the age cohort in most of the other countries." [S. Takahira, P. Gonzales, M. Frase, L.H. Salganik, "Persuing Excellence: A Study of U.S. Twelfth-Grade Mathematic and Science Achievement in International Context." U.S. Dept. of Ed. 1998, P. 44."

Even though Singapore does have a division in students after 6th grade, this graph is further evidence that students in Singapore start off with a much better foundation than our children and then never look back.

2003 TIMSS exam results

Comparing our test failure rates, this chart shows Utah's UBSCT test administered to graduating students 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 high-stakes exam which has challenging questions on it.  The difference is drastic.

Exam Failure Rate

Utah: Compared to peer states we rank dead last in math scores (Deseret News 11/2/07).
Singapore: Compared to the world, Singapore ranks #1 for 12 years running on TIMSS exams.

Utah: Our state standards received a D from the Fordham Foundation and a C from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Singapore: It is generally acknowledged that Singapore has some of the cleanest and most concise standards in the world.  Where Utah may have 60 standards in a grade level, Singapore may have 15-20.  Less topics equals greater time per topic, which means greater depth of knowledge.

Utah Standards

Utah: "Utah children need a life.  Singapore's culture is different than ours and all they do is focus on education."
Singapore: That's a myth which Dr. Yeap Ban Har dispelled on his visit to Utah.  Singapore students get perhaps an hour of homework a day and they have many extra-curricular activities to choose from including music and sports just like we do. For more information, download his powerpoint presentation (be sure to view slides 48-52 and 92 for the incredible algebra model they teach children early on). The difference is in a superior curriculum which teachers are trained to teach so they do it well, and it's a very solidly laid out program.

For more topical information about Singapore math, please visit the resources page where you can find examples of homework and other information.

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