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    Onderwijskrant Vlaanderen
    Vernieuwen: ja, maar in continuïteit!
    01-06-2015
    Klik hier om een link te hebben waarmee u dit artikel later terug kunt lezen.What to Do about Canada’s Declining Math Scores

    What to Do about Canada’s Declining Math Scores May 27, 2015 – Studie van prof.  Anna Stokke e.a.

    Canadian educators should abandon curricula and instruction premised upon the assumptions of discovery-based learning, according to a new C.D. Howe Institute report, which examines mounting evidence that this approach seriously hampers math learning by students. In “What to Do about Canada’s Declining Math Scores,” author Anna Stokke urges provinces to act quickly to improve the way mathematics is taught. For the report go to: http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/commentary_427.pdf

    The declining performance of Canadian students on international math assessments should worry Canadians and their provincial governments. Strong mathematics knowledge is required for success in the workforce, and early achievement in math is one of the best predictors of later academic success and future career options.

    Between 2003 and 2012, all but two Canadian provinces showed statistically significant declines in math scores on international exams administered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In several provinces, the percentage of students performing at the lowest levels in math significantly increased while the percentage of students performing at the highest levels significantly decreased, suggesting that more students are struggling and fewer students are excelling in math. It should be a policy priority to halt these trends and to improve math achievement for Canadian children.

     In this Commentary, I examine domestic and international evidence regarding three areas of provincial education programs that could play an important role in halting the downward trend in math scores. Imake three main recommendations regarding best teaching practices in math, the math curriculum, and the math knowledge of future teachers.

    Best teaching practices in math have been at the forefront of discussions regarding declining math scores in Canada. Discovery-based instruction – also called problem-based, inquiry, experiential, and constructivist learning – has become popular in North America in recent years, pushing aside direct instruction techniques, like times table memorization, explicit teacher instruction, pencil-and-paper practice, and mastery of standard mathematical procedures.

    Based on international and domestic evidence, this Commentary finds that studies consistently show direct instruction is much more effective than discovery-based instruction, which leads to straightforward recommendations on how to tilt the balance toward best instructional techniques.

    Student fluency with particular math concepts, such as fraction arithmetic, in early and middle years has been shown to predict future math success. This Commentary recommends that provincial math curricula be rewritten to remove ineffective pedagogical directives and to stress specific topics, at appropriate grade levels, that are known to lead to later success in math.

    Evidence shows that teachers who are most comfortable and knowledgeable with the content they are required to teach tend to transmit that knowledge best to students.

    C.D. Howe Institute Commentary© is a periodic analysis of, and commentary on, current public policy issues. Barry Norris and




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