Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why make more math facts software?

Why work to develop the ultimate math facts software? Because:

· “Studies of children in the United States, comparisons of these children with children from other nations with higher mathematics achievement, and even cross-generational changes within the United States indicate that many contemporary U.S. children do not reach the point of fast and efficient solving of single-digit addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers, much less fluent execution of more complex algorithms as early as children in many other countries. Surprisingly, many never gain such proficiency.” (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, (NMAP) Final Report, 2008)

· Many U.S. college students have to use backup strageies because they haven’t memorized all of the addition and subtraction facts, unlike East Asian college students. (Campbell & Xue, 2001; Geary, 1996; Geary & Wiley, 1991; Geary, Frensch, et al., 1993)

· Only 15% of 4th through 7th graders solved division problems from memory. 7th Graders were still using multiplication facts and skip counting to solve most problems. Automaticity of division facts does not seem to increase with age like the other three operators. (Ilg & Ames, 1951; Robinson, Arbuthnott, et al., 2006)

· Chinese students are superior to U.S. students on math facts. Kindergarteners outperform U.S. students by 300% and Chinese 5th graders are better by 160%. (Stevenson, Lee, Chen, Lummis, et al., 1990)

· “The implication is that many, perhaps most, U.S. children have not achieved fluency with simple multiplication and division.” (NMAP Learning Processes Task Group Report, 2008)

· A study of 130 Australian elementary students only found 3 who had developed automaticity with all 100 addition facts, one each in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. (Cumming, 1989)

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