Here are major findings:
Analysis of these evidentiary streams finds Singaporean students more successful in
mathematics than their U.S. counterparts because Singapore has a world-class mathematics system
with quality components aligned to produce students who learn mathematics to mastery. These
components include Singapore’s highly logical national mathematics framework, mathematically
rich problem-based textbooks, challenging mathematics assessments, and highly qualified
mathematics teachers whose pedagogy centers on teaching to mastery. Singapore also provides its
mathematically slower students with an alternative framework and special assistance from an expert
The U.S. mathematics system does not have similar features. It lacks a centrally identified
core of mathematical content that provides a focus for the rest of the system. Its traditional textbooks
emphasize definitions and formulas, not mathematical understanding; its assessments are not
especially challenging; and too many U.S. teachers lack sound mathematics preparation. At-risk
students often receive special assistance from a teacher’s aide who lacks a college degree. As a
result, the United States produces students who have learned only to mechanically apply
mathematical procedures to solve routine problems and who are, therefore, not mathematically
competitive with students in most other industrialized countries.
I am surprised that the study claims that in the U.S. "[i]ts traditional textbooks emphasize definitions and formulas."
What about the widespread use of fuzzy math books like
Everyday Mathematics (K-6)
TERC's Investigations in Number, Data, and Space (K-5)
Connected Mathematics (6-8)?