"Discovery Math" Fails to Educate Students

Jun 6, 2018 | Newmarket
As This Academic Year Draws to a Close!


As this academic year draws to a close it provides an opportunity to look back and take stock of a student’s preparation for what lies ahead.  An honest reflection is required to ensure a solid foundation in mathematics at the current grade level is sufficient to build upon in upcoming grades. Topics in math are cumulative in nature. Concepts explored at each grade level are required for the understanding of new topics year to year and for more in-depth development of each concept when revisited. Does the final grade attained in math this year reflect mastery of the subject material required to explore new concepts next year? Hoping those ‘difficult’ topics won’t be needed in the future is wishful thinking.  Every concept covered in math at every grade level is required in every subsequent math course to be taken by students in Ontario. Visit the Ministry of Education website to view the math expectations for grades 1 to 12 – look for reoccurring concepts appearing from year to year

Has the nightly homework session for mathematics been easy and routine? Have quizzes and exams at school demonstrated complete understanding of the topics in mathematics? Does a final grade of 70% in Math mean the student understands 7 out of the 10 topics covered this past year in math? Is the 70% final grade solely based on understanding of math concepts or is the grade a blend of participation in class, attendance, submitting homework on time, quiz results, test results, etc.? If there are gaps in understanding ‘some’ topics from this academic year, those gaps will not facilitate understanding of new concepts covered next year when mastery of the previous topics is required in next year’s math class. Thus begins the issue of compounding the problems in math whereby more and more concepts are not understood with gaps becoming crevasses becoming holes becoming almost impossible to address. Clearly, addressing concerns in mathematics as soon as possible is the course of action needed when difficulties arise.  Taking a No Risk Assessment will identify gaps in the understanding of mathematical concepts at each specific grade. Analyzing and reviewing the results of the assessment followed by preparation of an Individualized Learning Plan designed to address areas of concern prepares the child for the math topics currently being covered in the school math class and for future topics. A one-time Registration fee and Assessment fee are administered only at the time when a child takes out a Mathnasium membership at the Math Learning Centre with Mathnasium of Newmarket. Hence, undertaking an assessment, reviewing the results of the assessment and examining the proposed individualized learning plan does not require any initial payment. We feel it is important for both parents and students to have an honest appraisal of the child’s status in mathematics given the importance of the subject as it applies to so many career disciplines and as a requirement for entry into post-secondary institutions. It is imperative students have the opportunity to catch up, keep up and get ahead in mathematics. Frustration, anxiety, embarrassment and feeling lost during math class can erode a student’s confidence and performance in their entire academic program. 

This need not be the case.