Philadelphia-area schools embrace Singapore Math

It has worked for millions of students around the world, and now Singapore math has come to the Philadelphia area. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) has announced the adoption of Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish in ten schools in the Philadelphia area: The Episcopal Academy, the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology and the Neshaminy School District’s eight elementary schools.

The Math in Focus program is the U.S. Edition of Singapore’s most widely used program, My Pals Are Here! Maths. Both programs are published by Marshall Cavendish-Singapore with Math in Focus availability exclusively in the US through HMH. The K-6 math curriculum has been tailored to the unique needs of American students. By focusing on fewer topics and using a concrete-to-symbolic-to-visual approach, Math in Focus gives learners a more comprehensive understanding of critical math topics that align with the Common Core State Standards. In a recent study, test scores of Math in Focus students improved by an average of 12.4 points from year to year, more than three times the average improvement that occurred across the remaining students in the comparison group.

“The initial attraction to Singapore Math was what it was not. No more mile wide, inch deep. No more learning algorithms without understanding the concepts. No more moving on from topic to topic without giving students the tools to reach mastery,” said Shelley Rosen, K-5 Specialist at Neshaminy School District. “Math in Focus provides our teachers with a program that teaches number sense, which was sorely missing in our previous texts. Our teachers love the simplicity of the student texts and workbooks. We appreciate that problem solving is central to the program. Neshaminy teachers are excited to work with this new program.”

Math in Focus offers a pictorial approach, allowing students to look at problems in a visual way before they move to the abstract. Also notable is its consistent focus on problem solving, with specific problem-solving strategies taught in a carefully sequenced manner, and extensive use of word problems as a way to train students to connect different mathematical ideas.