New research is saying that the key to finding a good job may all come down to what you did or didn’t learn in elementary maths class.
In the first grade, students are taught a maths skill identified as “number system knowledge,” which is “the ability to conceptualize a numeral as a symbol for a quantity and understand systematic relationships between numbers,” reports Chad Brooks at BusinessNewsDaily.
Here’s an example of a number system knowledge problem:
Those who can make a connection between what this skill means to their every day lives end up functioning better in mathematics as adults.
However, this is the opposite of how most maths classes are taught in grade school. Linda Gojak, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, told Renee Schoof at McClatchy Newspapers that the traditional style of teaching maths is like “practicing the piano,” because students are usually taught to practice until they know how to do it.
This doesn’t help students in the long-run, because they’re just memorizing formulas, but aren’t actually connecting what they’re learning in the classrooms to the real world. They don’t understand the relationships between numbers, which is the skill taught in the first grade that researchers are saying affects your employment situation for years to come.
According to a study led by researchers from the University of Missouri, students who scored lower in their maths class in the first grade usually end up getting lower scores on their maths exam in the seventh grade, which then correlates with their employability and wages as adults. Even when you’re working with machinery, it’s important to be able to make products with precision, which involves a basic understanding of maths. And to understand trends in our economy, you need to understand the relationships between numbers.
Yet maths has been a problem for Americans — we rank below average in maths compared to other developed countries and regions participating in the Program for International Student Assessment test.
Schoof reported that 54 per cent of high school graduates scored so low on their ACT scores in 2012 that they weren’t actually ready to enter maths classes in college. The government is currently pushing to set higher standards in maths and English for students from kindergarten through high school. So far, 40-five states have adopted the Common Core standards initiative.
In order to get the job market back on track, there should be more care devoted to our education system and teachers should focus less on students’ grades and exam scores, but, rather, if their pupils can successfully carry those skills into adulthood. This maths problem is an example of how our short-term, instantaneous society puts too much pressure on grades and scores, which forces most students to merely memorize formulas and equations to get the grades they need on exams. However, memorizing equations doesn’t equate to truly understanding and retaining the information.
Instead, our education system should be placing more emphasis on taking the lessons from school and implementing those skills into the real world to come up with better solutions and improve knowledge in the long-run.
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