Why are Students in the USA so Far Behind in Math?

The US math score on the 2019 PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) test ranks American students at 30th in the world. The math score is below the average for other countries in the world according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Why is this so and what can be done about it?

In the book “Little Soldiers” (New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice), author Lenora Chu writes that Chinese students outperform Americans in math thanks to a “growth mindset” about academics. According to Chu, Americans have a growth mindset in sports and always seek to improve. Conversely, Americans tend to think of their academic abilities as set in stone; as a result, American students tend not to improve in math.

Academic math subjects are coachable just as sports are. Instead of being complacent by stating “I’m not good in math” or “I can’t do algebra”, students should be encouraged to improve their current level of achievement. Some students can improve their skills on their own while others hit roadblocks and are tempted to give up which can have serious, long-term consequences. When students encounter difficulties, they should immediately get help from expert math tutors or coaches.

Math class

To improve in math, students can benefit from working with an experienced math specialist. Private tutoring can address the specific needs of students and provide them with the skills and confidence to excel at math. After working with an expert math tutor, students find that their scores in school improve a great deal and they start to enjoy math class.

In the current environment with coronavirus concerns, tutoring is often done online with Zoom. Students can work with a tutor who uses a document camera throughout the lesson so the experience is nearly identical to in-person instruction.

To learn more about how you can help promote your child’s math education and maximize their math potential, contact MATH 1-2-3® for a FREE consultation.