Month: April 2016

Even In Equal Societies Girls Have Higher Math Anxiety Than Boys

Math anxiety — the phenomenon of having such negative emotions about math that one avoids the subject — affects females at higher rates than males, but only in developed nations, according to a new study. 

The researchers from the University of Missouri, the University of California-Irvine and the University of Glasgow in Scotland found that in less developed countries all students — both male and female — have high levels of math anxiety.

They studied data from over 700,000 15-year-olds across the world who participated in the Program for International Student Assessment to glean results, which were published in the journal PLOS One. What they found is somewhat puzzling. 

While “the general belief in the field is that as society became more gender equal, with more women in politics … and [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields and so forth, this would provide more role models, and therefore the gender differences in math anxiety and math performance would disappear,” David Geary, Curators Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri, told The Huffington Post in an interview. “We found the opposite.”

Overall, students in more developed nations — where performance is higher — have less math anxiety than students in less developed nations, the study found. As math performance increases, overall levels of anxiety tends to decrease. But there’s a catch.

“The math anxiety of girls didn’t decrease as rapidly as the math anxiety of boys. As a result, when you looked at economically developed countries with good educational systems, you begin to see a gap where girls have more math anxiety than boys. In less developed countries, everyone has high math anxiety,” Greary said. Even when researchers control for performance, girls “still have more math anxiety than they should.”

So why is this happening?

One possibility is that parents tend to instill a sense that math is more important for boys than it is for girls. Using a PISA survey that asked students about their parents’ attitudes toward math and one that asked parents about the subject, researchers found that parents of girls found math less significant. 

“Whether that directly contributes to math anxiety gap or is a reflection of that we don’t know,” Greary said. “But it really is the wrong message for girls and women, particularly in a modern economy where everyone needs reasonably good math skills.”

Researchers also found that a country’s proportion of women working in STEM fields had no bearing on the levels of math anxiety felt by teen girls. Whether or not a student attended a single-sex school also did not have a significant impact. 

Greary is calling on parents and teachers to focus more on the usefulness of math in everyday life. 

“We don’t really know why the math anxiety doesn’t fully disappear as much in girls as in boys,” he said. But either way, leaders need to “focus on the long-term usefulness of math and the greater options it’s going to give you in life. Even if you want to go into business and move into management, you have to have reasonably good math skills.”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/04/27/math-anxiety-girls-study_n_9790134.html

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This Adorable 5-Year-Old Genius Schools Steve Harvey In Math

Grab a calculator, because this 5-year-old genius is about to school math lovers everywhere.

Steve Harvey met numbers aficionado Luis on Sunday night, when the math wiz paid a visit to the NBC show “Little Big Shots.” The adorable Brooklyn native was quick to show off his skills by doubling and squaring numbers at the drop of a hat. Meanwhile, Harvey needed the help of a calculator to double-check Luis’ swift answers.

But Luis isn’t just talented at math, his parents also post videos on YouTube of him showing off his amazing knowledge of the chemical elements, which he can list alphabetically, and the planets.

His mom, Kiesha Esquivel, told The Huffington Post that she realized how smart her little boy was when he became passionate about spelling at 2 years old. But his interest in math didn’t surface until June.

“He just remembered everything we told him and was able to understand it as well as teach it,” Esquivel said.

And he still has that childish wonder, too. There was an adorable moment on the show when Luis tried to figure out what was that pesky dark silhouette that kept moving behind him.

We totally get it, Luis. Watch him track down his shadow and get very excited about playing math games in the video above.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/04/12/5-year-old-math-genius-schools-steve-harvey_n_9672658.html

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Why Zero Is So Ridiculously Important

Zero is a strange beast. It took until the 7th century for itto be explicitly recognized as a number in its own right, when the ancient Indians developed a numericalsystem that expressed zero with its own symbol. Since the development of thisnumber system, which we still use today, zero has been instrumental inour exploration of mathematics.

The human use of numbers sprang from the practical need to count things, but at thetime zero was only used to denote an absence of value. In this light, could it even be considered a number? As human thought progressed, however, and mathematics became more of an abstract process to unravel reality, zero started to prove itself as a very useful tool.

This animated video from The Royal Institution, narrated by mathematician Hannah Fry, tells the story of this winding history, from its role inancient civilizations to our current world of computer technology, and explains how zero became a mathematical hero.

 

 

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/what-zero-and-why-it-so-important

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Minister cancels leaked primary spelling test – BBC News

Image caption The test paper had been accidentally published on the Department for Education’s website

The schools minister has been forced to cancel a national spelling test for England’s primary schools, after a teacher spotted it had already been published online as a practice paper.

Nick Gibb said this was a “clearly regrettable incident”.

More than half a million seven-year-olds had been due to take the test next month, as part of their Sat tests.

Head teachers’ leaders, who had called for the scrapping of the test, welcomed the decision.

It follows the discovery that part of the English test paper had been mistakenly published on the Department for Education’s website, for use as practice material, and had been available there for three months – potentially giving some pupils a clear advantage.

The blunder was initially spotted by a teacher at a school that was carrying out an official trial of the test, using the paper that was to be taken by pupils around England.

“We have no way of knowing how extensively it has been used by schools and parents,” said Russell Hobby, the leader of the National Association of Head Teachers.

Mr Hobby said the schools minister had acted “quickly and appropriately” in cancelling this part of the Sats tests for seven-year-olds.

Mr Gibb issued a statement saying: “To remove any uncertainty and clarify the situation for schools, I have decided that we will remove the requirement on them to administer the Key Stage 1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test for this year only.”

He said that no other test papers for Key Stage 1 pupils appeared to have been affected.

The schools minister also announced there would be a “root and branch inquiry” into the Standards and Testing Agency, an agency of the Department for Education that sets tests.

A statement from the Standards and Testing Agency said the mistaken publishing of the words to be tested, rather than another sample, was the result of “human error”.


A guide to Sats

Key Stage 1 Sats tests are taken by six- and seven-year-olds in England at the end of Year 2.

Pupils take tests in:

  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling (two papers)
  • English reading (two papers)
  • mathematics (two papers)

The Key Stage 1 test results are used by teachers to reach an overall judgement of the standards pupils have reached in these key subjects.

Parents also receive a teacher assessment for science, though there is no science test.

A second set of tests, Key Stage 2 Sats, are taken by 10- and 11-year-olds at the end of Year Six.

The Key Stage 2 tests are used as a measure of school performance.

This year’s Key Stage 2 tests will be more demanding than in previous years and will be based on the new curriculum taught in England since 2014.

Pupils will sit them on set dates in the second week in May.

They include:

  • English reading (one paper)
  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling (two papers)
  • Mathematics (three papers)

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-36108449

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Watch Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Perfectly Explain Quantum Computers

Canadian Prime Minister and part-time viral video star, Justin Trudeau surprised a room full of scientists and journalists at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics by nailing a shortexplanation of quantum computing.

At a press conference at the renowned theoretical physics institution on Friday, a reporter jokingly said, I was going to ask you to explain quantum computers, but and went on to ask about Canadas foreign policy on the so-called Islamic State.

Not thrown off by the ever-so-slightly sarcastic remark, Trudeau rose to the occasion and went on to give a simple yet clear explanation of quantum computing, to which the room erupted withapplause.

Trudeau concluded his mini-lecture by saying,Dont get me going on this or well be here all day. Trust me.

No doubt Trudeau has an ensemble of PR-types ready to help him prepare for such questions, especially if youre going to an institution known for its work on quantum mechanics and computing (although having both beena math teacher and studied engineering before becoming PM probably helped). But many have praised the clarity, confidence, and genuine interest shown in answering the question. And hey, as off-the-cuff explanations go, its a pretty good one.

So, if the idea of quantum computers still gives you a headache, here you go:

 

 

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/technology/justin-trudeau-surprises-his-explanation-quantum-computers

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Education Secretary tells States To Ease Up on the Math and Reading

The United States Government is telling States to concentrate less on Math and Reading!

 

A report by US News and World Report, states that:

The new federal education law allows states to push the reset button on curriculum offerings, John King says.

 

The report goes on to say that:

“After years of schools narrowing their curricula to target math and reading during the test-happy No Child Left Behind era, Education Secretary John King is urging states to use their flexibility under the new federal education law to expand and focus more on science, social studies, arts and world languages.

In a series of speeches planned for this week, King will say that the new law gives schools, districts and states a chance to reset after years of focusing heavily on math and reading.”

 

To read the full article go here:

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-04-14/education-secretary-john-king-to-states-ease-up-on-the-math-and-reading

 

If you find that your child still needs help with learning math and you live near the Cherry Hill, NJ area, give us a call! (856) 874-0050

or visit us at: http://Mathnasium.com/CherryHill

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