How Does the S.A.M Singapore Mathematics Approach Help U.S. Students?

It’s no secret — U.S. children are falling behind other industrialized nations when it comes to mathematics performance. Recent data from international assessments ranks U.S. 15-year-olds 38th out of 71 countries when it comes to mathematical proficiency. But, what if there was a way that students could get ahead in this subject as early as elementary school?

At Seriously Addictive Mathematics (S.A.M), we believe U.S. students can use the S.A.M. Singapore Mathematics approach to improve their math abilities.

Our program for children aged four to 12 is based on the national curriculum used in classrooms throughout Singapore, where students consistently achieve top ranks in international assessments. This unique learning style emphasizes mastery of one concept at a time, before moving on to the next concept. This approach allows students to come away with a deeper understanding of these concepts, and most of all, the ability to apply them to a wide range of problems.

Differences in style between math systems in the U.S. and Singapore

While U.S. curriculums cover a lot of material, they often only touch on the surface of most subjects. This forces many students to focus on pure memorization instead of applying the appropriate mathematical heuristics. A student doesn’t necessarily have to know everything to excel in math or overcome challenges in mathematics education. However, he or she does need to know how to think through and analyze equations like a mathematician.

U.S. schools tend to lump students together within a “one size fits all system” that denies their unique learning styles. As a result of this systemic oversight, many students tend to become bored or fall behind in coursework. In stark contrast to the U.S., teachers in Singapore create a calibrated learning plan for each student that allows them to learn at their own pace according to their own abilities. This approach, ultimately, helps them to remain engaged and to take responsibility for their own learning.

The Singapore curriculum covers fewer topics, but dives deeper into each concept; students achieve true mastery before moving on to the next topic in order to build a strong foundation. The focus is on developing conceptual understanding before procedural fluency. Problem solving becomes pivotal to the process, as students learn to select and apply the most appropriate mathematical heuristics.

Overcoming challenges in mathematics education, one U.S. student at a time

Students in the U.S. often grow up thinking that the goal of math is to find the correct answer to an equation. While that is important, the Singapore curriculum helps children identify how a mathematical concept works. From a young age, students learn to “do” math using objects, and are encouraged to “see” math by drawing pictures or diagrams before they “represent” math using abstract mathematical symbols and equations.

Schools in the U.S. have already seen improvements from implementing the Singapore approach. In Wellesley, Massachusetts, standardized test scores for third-grade students improved by 20 percentage points when teachers began using the new method, compared to previous classes. Although adopting the Singapore approach in the U.S. may pose some initial challenges in mathematics education, this teaching approach does comply with common core standards. With so much room for improvement, students and teachers can certainly benefit from a new approach.

Discover the benefits of learning math through the S.A.M Singapore Mathematics approach

Still skeptical about how the Singapore approach can provide substantial math enrichment and support to U.S. children? Allow our team here at Seriously Addictive Mathematics to introduce you and your child to this world-leading method of instruction. Check out our FAQ section or contact Seriously Addictive Mathematics to learn more how our centers use the Singapore approach to math to help students break barriers.