Singapore Math2018-06-06T09:21:38+00:00

Math – Singapore Method

Singapore math refers to the teaching method and curriculum used in Singapore, a nation that consistently ranks at the top of international assessments of student achievement in math.

One of the defining features of Singapore math is visualization. The progression through concrete, pictorial, and abstract phases in understanding math concepts supports the real-world application of math.

Singapore math program teaches children to think mathematically rather than just having them memorize the methodology of problem-solving.

A three-step process is employed make children’s foundations for conceptual understanding strong by leading them from concrete, to pictorial, then abstract approaches to learning.

Learning math begins with the concrete: blocks, cards, buttons, whatever. Then there are abstract equations: 2 + 3 = 5. But Singapore math introduces the “pictorial” phase — a bridge between concrete and abstract.

Concepts are addressed from a number of directions that challenge students to think and understand.

 The three broad aims of mathematics education in Singapore are to enable students to:

  • acquire and apply mathematical concepts and skills;
  • develop cognitive and metacognitive skills through a mathematical approach to problem-solving; and
  • develop positive attitudes towards mathematics.

The mathematics curriculum comprises a set of syllabuses spanning 12 years, from primary to pre-university, and is compulsory up to the end of secondary education. Syllabuses for the primary, secondary, pre-university as well as courses of study have specific sets of aims to guide the design and implementation of the syllabuses suited for varying needs and abilities of students.

Six Reasons Why Singapore Math Might Just Be the Better Way

  1. Singapore Math focuses on mastery, not just learning for a test.
  2. Visual and audible learners are thriving.
  3. Layered strategies build upon one another.
  4. It aligns with Common Core State Standards.
  5. Studies show instant improvement.

Evolution of Math in Singapore Curriculum

 School Mathematics Curricula in Singapore has evolved over time. The present-day School Mathematics Curriculum can best be described as one that caters to the needs of every child in school. It is based on a framework that has mathematical problem solving as its primary focus. The attainment of problem-solving ability is dependent on five inter-related components – Concepts, Skills, Processes, Attitudes, and Metacognition.

 The three broad aims of mathematics education in Singapore are to enable students to:

  • acquire and apply mathematical concepts and skills;
  • develop cognitive and metacognitive skills through a mathematical approach to problem-solving; and
  • develop positive attitudes towards mathematics.

The mathematics curriculum comprises a set of syllabuses spanning 12 years, from primary to pre-university, and is compulsory up to the end of secondary education. Syllabuses for the primary, secondary, pre-university as well as courses of study have specific sets of aims to guide the design and implementation of the syllabuses suited for varying needs and abilities of students.

A major restructuring of  Singapore Math curriculum was taken up in  1998:

  • The learning of mathematics is sequential and hierarchical in nature. Therefore, essential topics and skills removed from one level were transferred to another level in order to ensure continuity in the learning of the subject.
  • Topics that were core content, i.e. essential as the foundation for further mathematics learning; developed the desired outcomes of the syllabuses; and provided continuity and completeness were retained.
  • Topics that were less fundamental and not connected to other topics in the syllabus; which placed heavy emphasis on mechanical computation; which overlapped with those taught at other levels; that was too abstract for the intended level and concepts/skills that were taught in other subjects, were removed from the syllabus.

Evolution of the School Mathematics Curriculum Framework

Evolution of the School Mathematics Curriculum Framework

Singapore’s school mathematics curriculum too has evolved over time. Today every child in school has the opportunity to do mathematics that is suited to his or her ability. As people are the only resource of Singapore, education is the key to the success of its economy and in turn survival (Goh, 2001). School mathematics curriculum, at present, emphasizes a balance between mastery over basic skills and concepts in Mathematics and the application of higher order thinking skills to solve mathematical problems.

Reference: Evolution of Singapore’s School Mathematics Curriculum, Berinderjeet KAUR, National Institute of Education, Singapore

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