If you were unable to read the attachment, here is the body of the last posting. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- TITLE: NBS#231: "Finding a clear path through America's math maze" CATEGORY: Content Standards The Christian Science Monitor begins a three-part series on the perceived math deficit among US students with an overview of what all the fuss is about. While Americans have long joked about their math insecurities, the hard reality isn't so funny. The 1996 Third International Mathematics and Science Study ranked US eighth-graders in the bottom half of 41 countries. Last year, two-thirds of Massachusetts's fourth-graders proved unable to multiply 256 times 98 with a calculator. Students in a Penn State University introductory economics course last year didn't know the difference between a numerator and a denominator -- a first for Professor Thomas Fox. These indicators don't bode well for the country's economic future, experts say. "We're coasting right now," says Harold Stevenson, an expert in math education. "The next decades are going to be ones devoted to science and technology, and if we don't have that, where are we going to be in 20 years?" Of course, math education has undergone many previous overhauls. In the '60s, it was "new math," followed by a return to "basics" in the '70s. Over the last two decades, the focus has returned to problem solving. The swings have infuriated many parents. Those who favor an emphasis on basic skills recently scored a victory when the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics modified its standards to reflect such a shift. The irony is that some of the innovative approaches under attack are integral parts of strong math programs in countries like Japan. What is needed to make those approaches work are strong teachers with a thorough understanding of their subject. Other stories in the first part of this series focus on the "new-new math," and the lessons to be learned from the way math is taught in other countries. SOURCE: Christian Science Monitor, 16 May 2000 WEBSITE: http://www.csmonitor.com/sections/learning/mathmelt/p-1story051600.html ------------------------------------------- The NASSMC Briefing Service (NBS) is provided by the National Alliance of State Science & Mathematics Coalitions through grants from the ExxonMobil Foundation and the National Security Agency (NSA). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ExxonMobil Foundation, NSA or NASSMC. Readers are hereby granted permission to further distribute NBS articles in electronic or hardcopy form. Comments or questions regarding NBS should be sent to [log in to unmask]