If you noticed the math homework your child is being assigned is more complex than when you were in grade school, you might be on to something.
In 2015, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a project of the federal Education Department, found that the average math scores in the U.S. for fourth- and eighth-graders fell for the first time since 1990.
However, the report found that Florida was the only state to see an increase in math between 2015 and 2017 for the fourth- and eighth graders.
There is a push to change how math homework is solved. Teachers are following the conceptual method of solving problems rather than the timetables and procedures that adults memorized in their childhood.
The conceptual method involves more explanation behind a math problem. There are more steps, with an explanation at each. Instead of two steps in the traditional problem solving, teachers will break the problem in five or six, for instance.
Only time will show which method is more effective. In the meantime, there are several tasks you can do to make sure your kid’s math scores stay on top. It all starts with their homework.
“Most of the schools now have an electronic component,” said Debra Mathinos, Education Director at the Heights Center. “A lot of those textbooks that are online, have specific resources for parents.”
Parents can now turn to the website associated with the textbook to help their children solve difficult math problems.
And if your child happens to leave his or her math book at school, Lee County School Districts offers an app where parents can access a digital copy. The app gives you access to reviews, quizzes and it allows you to print lessons and worksheets.
These textbook apps are usually easy to navigate on a computer. A few clicks of a button
will lead to various chapters, where problems are listed. Usually, the textbook will also have answers to those problems for the parent to check at his or her convenience to ensure that the child’s math solution is correct.
If the problem is wrong and the parent is also unsure how to correctly solve it, he or she can easily screenshot the page and attach it to an email to send to the teacher. The method usually leads to a response soon after.
If your child needs extra guidance in math, there are several resources throughout Southwest Florida and the Internet, including;
Additional reporting by Val Simpson