Maths and migraine could be synonymous even for the brightest students. But it’s undeniable that students who crack the math code – not that it’s a demanding subject for all – can go places. They can do well even if they are not from the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) field.
According to Bill Gates, former CEO of Microsoft, and American business magnate and investor, students who complete high school Algebra 1 by ninth grade are more likely to be graduates.
An article published in Inc.com claims that the Gates Foundation has been working with public high schools that are bettering math education standard
They are using novel methods to teach math concepts to educators or business leaders.
Gates has pointed out in his blog that students struggle in Algebra 1. The success rate in Algebra has declined massively, he reminded, adding that those who fail to clear Algebra 1 have a one-in-five chance of graduating from high school.
“The truth is that math is more than just a bunch of numbers–much more. Not only are math skills relevant to our everyday lives in ways we might not realize, they’re also a powerful indicator of how successful those lives will be,” he wrote.
The solution, he believes, is to rejig the way math is taught in schools and colleges.
The Inc.com report says Gates spent a day at Chula Vista Middle School in Southern California, a school that has received Gates Foundation support as part of its school improvement programme.
Amilcar Fernandez, who runs the math program at Chula Vista and designs its curriculum, has moved away from traditional approaches to make math education more interesting. As a result, the school’s math proficiency rates have risen 18% points in three years.
Adding a personal touch to teaching, making it relevant to the real world, introducing techniques that help students with problem-solving ability, and getting their feedback seem to have done wonders in the way students have been responding to learning math.