Quick: What’s 136 divided by 17? Knowing the answer to division problems like this could help the whole country. Over the past 30 years, mathematics achievement of U.S. high school students has remained stagnant—and significantly behind many other countries, including China, Japan, Finland, the Netherlands, and Canada.
Robert Siegler and his research team at Carnegie Mellon University has identified that US students’ inadequate knowledge of fractions and division is one of the major sources for this gap. “We suspected that early knowledge in these areas was absolutely crucial to later learning of more advanced mathematics, but did not have any evidence until now,” said Siegler about his study published in Psychological Science .
Watch Siegler explain why the findings demonstrate an immediate need to improve teaching and learning of fractions and division.