Updated: May 18
TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) are two international tests that assess students’ performance in mathematics and science.
TIMSS assessment is conducted every four years and it tests fourth and eighth graders in Mathematics and Science literacy. The focus is on how students apply conceptual understanding to solve problems (to meet the stated "High Benchmark" level) as well as how they apply math knowledge in a variety of relatively complex situations and explain their reasoning ("Advanced Benchmark" level).
PISA is conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) every three years since 2000. It tests 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics, and science literacy, focusing on how they can apply their skills to real-life problems.
For 20+ years, in both these assessments, Singapore Math students have had great success and have ranked at or near the top. The distribution statistics obtained from TIMSS is especially telling in why Singapore students achieve such success.
Aside from topping the table for 20+ years, 54% of Singapore Math students achieved the highest proficiency (Advanced Benchmark) and 84% achieved the “High Benchmark”. USA stood at 14% and 46% respectively and Russian Federation was a bit better at 20% and 61% respectively. That means that over half of Singapore Math students are able to can apply their understanding and knowledge in a variety of relatively complex situations and explain their reasoning. This is the skillset that children today need to succeed in the age of AI and Robotics.
Needless to say, this not happen by accident. The combination of curriculum and pedagogy is the secret sauce.
The curriculum and pedagogy teaches students how to think mathematically and problem-solve using a three-step learning model (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract or CPA). It helps students understand why and how math works, not just how to do it.
Singapore Math focuses on mastery of a certain topic and covers the concepts in-depth. It also builds a strong mathematical foundation in early years and develops students’ mental math and number sense.
The curriculum prepares students for higher-level math and real-world situations. It also challenges students to think critically, creatively, and analytically.
Singapore Math students perform well across all academic abilities, not just those who are academically stronger. They also achieve high scores in applying mathematical and scientific knowledge and concepts, and using reasoning skills to solve complex problems.
It is no surprise that many advanced economies send their teachers to Singapore to observe and train in the methods that has lead to so much success.
Singapore Math at S.A.M.
At S.A.M., we implement the Singapore Math curriculum and teaching philosophy to the fullest extent. Our curriculum has been developed and continually kept up-to-date by teachers and book publishers based in Singapore. Our trainers are trained in the teaching methods that has worked wonders for thousands of children worldwide to promote independent thinking and self-discovery.