New evidence on math teaching

New evidence on math teaching

A new review of evidence, commissioned by the EEF and the Nuffield Foundation in the UK, analyzes the best available international research on teaching math to children aged 9-14 to find out what the evidence says about effective math teaching. It highlights some areas of math teaching – like feedback, collaborative learning, and different types of textbooks – and considers what the evidence says, and how much evidence there is.

One area where there is strong evidence is using calculators to support learning. The report suggests that students’ math skills may not be harmed by using calculators as previously thought. In fact, using them in math lessons can boost students’ calculation and problem-solving skills if they are used in a thoughtful and considered way.

Other findings include:

  • Math homework tends to benefit older students, but not those in primary school
  • Teacher subject knowledge is crucial for realizing the potential of math resources and interventions to raise attainment
  • High-quality feedback tends to have a large effect on learning, but it should be used sparingly and mainly for more complex tasks
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