NEWS & BLOG Top news stories from the BCCPAC

U.S. funds study of innovative JUMP math program


The U.S. government is funding a study in Ontario that could influence the way math is taught in Canadian schools

The study, by researchers at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, will compare the success of elementary-school children who are taught math using the regular Ontario curriculum to that of students following the JUMP math program, says a story in the Globe and Mail.

The U.S. Education Department has contributed $2.7 million (US) to the study of JUMP math, which the newspaper says combines conventional math with so-called discovery learning. (While some have suggested it is a back-to-basics program, creator John Mighton told me it's much more than that. Those who think it is a back-to-basic program have looked only at the workbooks, but the heart of the program is the teachers' guides, he said.)

JUMP math has already been embraced by some B.C. teachers, who prefer it to Math Makes Sense. Professional development workshops are held regularly in this province, with the next one scheduled for Jan. 31 at UBC.

Mighton, a Canadian mathematician and playwright, told Scientific American last fall, that he created JUMP Math, and registered it as a charity, in a bid to find out why so many children find the subject difficult.

I believe that a root cause of many children's troubles in math, as well as in other subjects, is the belief in natural academic hierarchies," he's quoted as saying. "As early as kindergarten, children start to compare themselves with their peers and to identify some as talented or "smart" in various subjects. A child who decides that she is not talented will often stop paying attention or making an effort to do well. This problem will likely compound itself more quickly in math than in other subjects because when you miss a step in math it is usually impossible to understand what comes next. The more a child fails, the more her negative view of her abilities is reinforced and the less efficiently the child learns.”

An earlier post about parents petitioning for an end to Math Makes Sense can be found here.


I am a guest blogger for BCCPAC and the information presented here does not represent in any way the views of the organization.

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