In Math Education, “Traditional Drills” Give Better Results than “Discovery Learning”

Tests of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) are administered once every three years. They focus alternatively on reading, math and science. Year 2012 was about math, Canada ranking 13th, down three spots from 2009 and six spots from 2006.

Interestingly, Quebec got better results than the rest of Canada. Why? According to Robert Craigen, an associate professor of mathematics at the University of Manitoba, it may be because Quebec schools put more emphasis on traditional drills than other parts of the country. The PISA report indicated that the best performers got more exposure to formal mathematics, algebra and geometry than the "word problems" used in the so called “discovery learning".

 

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