The Advantages and Shortcomings of Singapore Math

With more schools implementing Singapore math every year, it is time to look at this method with a critical eye. What are the main benefits of the Singapore math method? Does Singapore math deliver what it promises? Are there any disadvantages of this method, which should be a warning sign for parents and teachers?


The main advantages of Singapore math

First of all, let’s start from the most important benefit of Singapore math: it really does improve students’ test scores and their general understanding of math. Over the last couple of years, researchers have conducted a number of studies, comparing classes with Singapore math curriculum to those, which apply other methods, traditional or innovative.

All of those studies show that the implementation of Singapore math has a positive effect on students’ skills. Even if the Singapore math method was used only for a limited period of time, one year or several weeks, the results exceeded expectations.

For example, a school in New Jersey, which used Singapore math method for one year experienced 60 percent growth in the number of students, who scored 70 percent or higher during their math test. One more important advantage of the Singapore math method is its accent on creating solid math foundations.

Singapore math is not that sort of knowledge, which you memorize and forget after a while, quite contrary, the method is concentrated on developing the intrinsic math skills of every child and making math as natural and understandable, as possible.

Add to it the fact that Singapore math curricula are directly inspired by the original Singaporean teaching methods, which allowed average students to become the best in the world in math (based on the results of international math tests), and you have a perfect math teaching technique.

The disadvantages of Singapore math to consider

Of course, Singapore math is not as ideal, as it seems and the method has a few weaker points every parent and teacher should know about. First of all, the method is quite complex and significantly different from other math teaching methods. Therefore, every teacher and homeschooling parent should complete a math teacher training, before using Singapore math in practice.

Those training sessions are rarely offered for free, therefore everyone interested in the method should be prepared for extra costs. That plus the cost of buying Singapore math study books will surely make the method too expensive for some schools and homeschooling parents.

Slow progress in the early stages of learning is also typical for the Singapore math method, so it might take some time, before you see your students/ children excel in math. Finally, the method varies greatly from the traditional US curriculum, therefore students, who started learning math with the Singapore math method should continue following this curriculum also in the future.

Changing schools and switching to different math programs is not recommended, therefore your decision to try Singapore math should be at least a few years long commitment. If you can bear the costs, however, the method can significantly improve math skills of your students/ children and help them get better math test scores in the future.

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