The American K-12 math education has seen a plateau since 2003. In the most recent PISA scores released in 2019, the US score of 478 in math was 11 points lower than the OECD average, placing them 36th in math out of the 79 countries and regions that participated in the test. The US overall PISA math score has not changed since 2003, resulting in a stagnation. Statistics also showed that students in Massachusetts, Vermont and Texas had always made larger gains since 2003 than those in other states. Although Texas made more gains in mathematics but not in reading out of the three states, there was a big gap in test results between Texas and other outstanding countries such as China and Singapore. China (the provinces of Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang) scored 591 in mathematics and Singapore scored 569 in mathematics – once again came out on the top, ranking first and second in all three subjects, respectively. According to the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results, 40% of Grade 12 students scored below NAEP Basic. In fact, only 38% of Grade 12 students addressed high confidence in their mathematics skills and knowledge. But why does the USA, a leading country in technology, continually fail to produce good results in math within its states compared to other developed countries which are next in line to become the strongest economies?
The issue lies within the way math is taught in schools. US math education tends to get as much information into kids’ heads as quickly as possible, and students are introduced to a wide selection of math topics without in-depth information and rooms of applications. With a heavy emphasis on meeting the TEKS standards and taking the tests, the students are not provided with enough time for retention or a depth of understanding. Without a great math foundation, students in the US are often only good at answering the first layer of a problem, and start to have difficulties answering more complex parts. Without proper teaching structures, students gradually lose confidence in math, develop low self-esteem in regards to math, and sometimes give up in math. It is difficult for a student who struggled with math in the early stage to suddenly reverse and excel at a higher level.
Additionally, the one-size-fits-all approach does not work with children. Children have unique social emotional needs and the education system must take these into consideration. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that 7 in 10 teens think anxiety and depression are major problems for their peers, and 6 in 10 kids feel pressure to get good grades. While the US is now starting to talk about Social Emotional Learning (SEL), it might take generations to incorporate effectively in the US school system that has large student-to-teacher ratios.
School District Performance in Some of Texas Cities
Texas has a total of 1,029 public school districts. Most are independent school districts; some are consolidated school districts; one is a municipal school district. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Eanes Independent School District is #1 Best School District in Texas, followed up Carroll Independent School District in #2, and South Texas Independent School District in #3. These rankings are based on state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, public school district ratings, and more.
|Rank||School District||Rank||School District|
|#1||Eanes Independent School District||#26||Lake Travis Independent School District|
|#2||Carroll Independent School District||#27||Boerne Independent School District|
|#3||South Texas Independent School District||#28||Hudson Independent School District|
|#4||Highland Park Independent School District||#29||Pearland Independent School District|
|#5||Lovejoy Independent School District||#30||Barbers Hill Independent School District|
|#6||Coppell Independent School District||#31||Lewisville Independent School District|
|#7||Frisco Independent School District||#32||Lubbock-Cooper Independent School District|
|#8||Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District||#33||Randolph Field Independent School District|
|#9||Allen Independent School District||#34||Aledo Independent School District|
|#10||Friendwood Independent School District||#35||Frenship Independent School District|
|#11||BASIS Charter Schools – Texas||#36||Great Hearts Academy – Texas|
|#12||Plano Independent School District||#37||Mason Independent School District|
|#13||Argyle Independent School District||#38||Fort Sam Houston Independent School District|
|#14||Prosper Independent School District||#39||Franklin Independent School District|
|#15||Katy Independent School District||#40||Sharyland Independent School District|
|#16||College Station Independent School District||#41||Canadian Independent School District|
|#17||Alamo Heights Independent School District||#42||McKinney Independent School District|
|#18||Sunnyvale Independent School District||#43||Klondike Independent School District|
|#19||Wall Independent School District||#44||Clear Creek Independent School District|
|#20||Tomball Independent School District||#45||Rockwall Independent School District|
|#21||Leander Independent School District||#46||Port Aransas Independent School District|
|#22||Midway Independent School District||#47||Round Rock Independent School District|
|#23||Dripping Springs Independent School District||#48||Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District|
|#24||Nyos Charter School||#49||Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts|
|#25||Wylie Independent School District (Wylie)||#50||Wylie Independent School District (Abilene)|
Based on the state test scores, 81% of students in Eanes Independent School District (rank #1) are proficient in math; 67% of students in Katy Independent School District (rank #15) are proficient in math; 58% of students in Fort Bend Independent School District (rank #74) are proficient in math. One of the main factors that leads to different math proficiency levels includes the student-teacher ratio. School districts with higher rankings such as Eanes Independent School District tend to have lower student-teacher ratios (14:1) compared to those with lower rankings such as Katy Independent School District (15:1) and Fort Bend Independent School District (16:1). To avoid high student-teacher ratios, 1-to-1 and small group math tutoring or after-school math programs give each student the focus and attention they need, providing on-time instructions.
While there are long-term fixes that need to be made to the US math educational system, math tutors can provide students with outside-school learning sessions and opportunities that help build their math foundation, improve their math performance, and re-establish their confidence in math. Math tuitions provide students with math help in a comfortable, non-stressful environment, and give students the flexibility to adjust the teaching speed that matches their needs.
At Math Project, our mission is to help our students to increase their math knowledge, drive their motivations, and boost their confidence – no matter what levels they begin with. Our foundational program allows K-12 students to smoothly grasp math concepts and overcome any obstacles. Moreover, our teaching methodology incorporates Social Emotional Learning by catering to each student’s unique needs. Our students are assessed at their current skill level, not their grade level, allowing them to develop correct learning ability. Our team also keeps a close eye on student’s progress and communicates with parents to ensure their kids are mastering the concepts at the right pace. Math Project achieves this through a high degree of customization and mentorship that our qualified, well-trained math tutors provide to each child. Math Project provides a positive learning environment by acknowledging our students’ efforts, fostering and encouraging correct learning attitudes, and establishing supportive relationships with our students and their parents. Contact us at 1-844-628-4243 for math tutor in Katy, Richmond, Cypress, Sugar Land, Missouri City and/or Hillcroft, or to book a free assessment!Book a free assessment
What 2018 PISA international rankings tell us about U.S. schools – hechingerreport.org
What 2018 PISA international rankings tell us about U.S. schools – nagb.gov
Why U.S. Students Are Bad at Math – usnews.com
Why Social-Emotional Learning Is Suddenly in the Spotlight – edsurge.com
Mathematics – tea.texas.gov
The School System – mytexaspublicschool.org
2021 Best School Districts in Texas – niche.com
Why state comparisons are more useful than international comparisons for improving U.S. education policy – epi.org