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  • Charis Chio

Secret Behind Singapore Math Revealed

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

More than 50 training frameworks from around the globe have adopted Singapore Mathematics, including Britain from where Singapore was colonised.

However, why is Singapore’s Maths framework widely accepted all over the world? How does Singapore manage to stay ahead in our Maths strategy?

In a study conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) 20 years ago, Singapore was ranked among the top 37 countries along with Britain and the United States for the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which brought Singapore to the spotlight despite being a small island. Parents and schools from other parts of the world began adopting Singapore style Mathematics and imported Singapore textbooks.

In 2015, Singapore students had excelled and outperformed their peers from 76 countries by ranking top position for Maths, Science and Reading in the Programme for International Student Assessment(PISA).

Curiosity piqued among mathematics specialists around the world and upon researching, they had concluded to primary level mathematics curriculum and teaching approach being unique and successful in allowing students to understand Mathematics like a Mathematician.

As humans tend to learn in three stages - Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA) method - a deep and sustainable understanding of mathematics is developed. The CPA framework is known to be highly effective for progressing students to abstract concepts like fractions and is so established in the teaching approach of Singapore Mathematics. Students are given the opportunity to comprehend the ideas in a simplified way instead of plainly following rules and procedures, thus allowing them to have a strong maths establishment. Despite being criticised by some, the Singapore educational framework is currently explored and practiced in numerous countries and incorporated into numerous prospectuses across the globe.

In 2018, millions of Singapore textbooks have been sold in more than 60 countries, including US and UK. Upon adopting Singapore’s math strategies, various schools in the US have seen improvement in just one year.

In a research conducted in 2016 by the Oxford University Department of Education, it was noted that British students achieved better progress with Singapore style mathematics. Teachers from Britain have reported that this improvement gave them a boost of confidence and kept them more engaging. Hence, it was reported that more primary schools in Britain will be adopting Singapore style Mathematics as part of their teaching framework in the next few years.

Singapore Math has gained so much recognition over the past years for its importance is taught to students in Singapore by making it a core subject throughout their education. Even for students who are taking A-levels, Math or Science is a compulsory subject to be taken until the completion of school.

Singapore Math in particular is regarded to have a very high standard globally. The Ministry of Education in Singapore recognizes that Mathematics is of key importance as it is a subject that influences a lot of fields and you can see mathematics manifested in many ways around us.


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