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August 13, 2008 > Educators review new math programs, pre-algebra instruction

Educators review new math programs, pre-algebra instruction

Submitted By Annie Speight

Educators in the region are evaluating, for the first time since 2001, a new list of K-8 math textbooks adopted by the state to determine which ones they'll use and how, if at all, their curriculums will change.

Local teachers and school administrators have begun the process of self-examination and assessing 41 new K-8 math titles, including state-approved versions of books developed by Singapore's Ministry of Education and one developed by the UCLA math department, which the California State Board of Education included in its recent Mathematics Primary Adoption.

The process is particularly important for educators given the Board of Education's new mandate that all eighth graders take and get tested on algebra. The Singapore math curriculum, for example, focuses on fundamentals to prepare students for algebra in middle school, while UCLA's "Introduction to Algebra" was developed for eighth graders.

Parents can contact their children's schools to offer input during the process.

The adopted textbooks become core-curriculum programs that can be purchased with state funds and meet state math standards.

For instance, under the adoption, elementary school teachers in the region are able to use state funds to order adaptations of math textbooks that helped Singaporean students earn first-place rankings in three widely cited studies of student math performance conducted in 1995, 1999 and 2003, according to Jeffery Thomas, president of the textbooks' North American distributor, SingaporeMath.com Inc.

The global study - Trends in International Mathematics and Science
Study (TIMSS) - is conducted every four years.

The state Board of Education released its list of adopted titles, including the "Standards Edition" series published by Singapore-based Marshall Cavendish International, after receiving a list of recommended textbooks from the state's Curriculum Commission.

The state's complete list of adopted K-8 math titles is available online at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/im/mathprogramnov2007.asp.

SingaporeMath.com was started in 1998 by Jeff and Dawn Thomas with a mission to bring quality educational books to the United States. The couple lived in Singapore for five years (Dawn is a Singaporean), where their daughter attended kindergarten and the first half of first grade, before moving back to the U.S. in 1997. The couple was disappointed with the quality of mathematics materials used at schools in the U.S. and decided to continue using the Singapore math textbooks with their daughter to supplement her schoolwork. It then dawned on the couple that it would be a good idea to make the books available to schools and home-schooled children in the U.S. The company is dedicated to high standards of excellence in service and quality in products.

For more information on SingaporeMath.com, visit their Web site at http://www.singaporemath.com/.

Annie Speight can be reached at Ehrlich Written Communications, 503-925-1600, ext. 4.

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