The
changes are being
driven by students’ lagging performance on international tests and
mathematicians’ warnings that more than a decade of so-called reform
math — critics call it fuzzy math — has crippled students with its
de-emphasizing of basic drills and memorization in favor of allowing
children to find their own ways to solve problems.

“For
all content areas, practice allows students to achieve automaticity of
basic skills — the fast, accurate and effortless processing of content
information — which frees up working memory for more complex aspects of
problem solving,” the report said.

Under
the new (old)
plan, students will once again move through the basics — addition,
subtraction, multiplication, division and so on — building the skills
that are meant to prepare them for algebra by seventh grade. This new
approach is being seen as an attempt to emulate countries like
Singapore, which ranks at the top internationally in math.

An
experiment by the
researchers suggests that it might be better to let the apples, oranges
and locomotives stay in the real world and, in the classroom, to focus
on abstract equations, in this case 40 (t + 1) = 400 - 50t, where t is
the travel time in hours of the second train. (The answer is below.)

The
problem with the real-world examples, Dr. Kaminski said, was that they
obscured the underlying math, and students were not able to transfer
their knowledge to new problems.

I
started in the first
grade - I figured I might as well start in the first grade and work my
way up - and the response that I got when I talked to a first-grade
teacher about math was interesting. She ... would typically giggle and
say, ``Well, math is not my favorite subject.'' Now, can you imagine
talking to a first-grade teacher who giggles and says, ``I really don't
like reading?''

Having
used their A.P. credits to get into Middlebury, a number of our
students try to take calculus again, saying, “I know I got a 5 on the
exam, but I didn’t really understand it.”

Students are often surprised to learn that they still have hurdles to clear before they can begin college-level work.

Fewer
than half of all New York State students who graduated from high school
in 2009 were prepared for college or careers, as measured by state
Regents tests in English and math.

At LaGuardia Community College in Queens, 40 percent of the math classes are remedial.

“The course is really a refresher, but they aren’t ready for a refresher. They need to learn how to learn.”

About
65 percent of all community college students nationwide need some form
of remedial education, with students’ shortcomings in math outnumbering
those in reading by 2 to 1.

CUNY officials say that only about 25 percent of full-time students at the community colleges graduate within six years.

Compass exam, that would allow those who passed to start studying college-level math.