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ERIC Number: EJ763346
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Miracle Math: A Successful Program from Singapore Tests the Limits of School Reform in the Suburbs
Garelick, Barry
Education Next, v6 n4 p38-45 Fall 2006
In December of 2004, media outlets across the country were abuzz with news of the just-released results of the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) tests. Once again despite highly publicized efforts to reform American math education over the past two decades, the United States did little better than average. Taken by tens of thousands of students in more than three dozen countries, TIMSS has become a respected standard of international academic achievement. In three consecutive TIMSS test rounds (in 1995, 1999, and 2003), 4th- and 8th-grade students in the former British trading colony of Singapore beat all contenders, including math powerhouses Japan and Taiwan. College Gardens Elementary is one of four in Maryland's Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) district that experimented with Singapore's math program. The Singapore texts and methods were so effective in College Gardens that the scores of its students on the math computation portion of the standardized Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills (CTBS) rose from the 50th and 60th percentiles to the low 90s in the first 4 years they were used. The scores on the general mathematics section, however, were flat or negative. An evaluation of the pilot program conducted by MCPS found that in the schools where Singapore Math (SM) was being used as a pilot program, students typically outperformed their peers in other district schools. Yet despite these positive results, three of the four pilot schools dropped out of the program after fewer than four years. This article describes the features of Singapore's texts and discusses why the pilot program was abandoned so quickly in Montgomery County despite all of the mathematical strengths of the Singapore program. (Contains 2 figures.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan; Maryland; Singapore; Taiwan; United States
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills