A Better Way to Teach Math
Is it possible to eliminate the bell curve in math class?
Yes, but probably not in the way most people would think. Steve Sailer linked to an opinion article in the NY Times about a revolutionary math curriculum called Jump Math. Jump Math makes some pretty bold claims for itself:
Almost every kid — and I mean virtually every kid — can learn math at a very high level, to the point where they could do university level math courses,” explains John Mighton, the founder of Jump Math, a nonprofit organization whose curriculum is in use in classrooms serving 65,000 children from grades one through eight, and by 20,000 children at home. “If you ask why that’s not happening, it’s because very early in school many kids get the idea that they’re not in the smart group, especially in math. We kind of force a choice on them: to decide that either they’re dumb or math is dumb.
What is the revolutionary method?: go slower, break it down into simpler steps, and use less abstraction for the poorer students. At least based on the data in the article, it seems to work pretty well, but I would have expected it to. This new method is really the old method, dressed up in modern language. Hypocrisy in a good cause indeed.