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Archive for March, 2010

The American educational system has been under quite a bit of pressure due to students lackluster math skills vs. other countries. This is an alarming state of affairs, and one that has far reaching implications for our children’s future. But who has the best educational system and how are the educational systems different?

There are many reports comparing the math skill performance of U.S. students in pre-high school and high school to the math skill performance of students in other countries, with U.S. students scoring significantly lower than in many other countries. For example, in 2004 the New York Times reported that high school students in Hong Kong, Finland and South Korea do best in mathematics among those in 40 surveyed countries, while students in the United States finished in the bottom half, according to a new international comparison of mathematical skills shown by 15-year-olds (NYT, Dec. 7, 2004).

Such reports also tie into recent falls in average math SAT scores, with the largest drop in math scores in 30 years reported by the Wall Street Journal in 2007 (WSJ, August 29, 2007).

But why do students in the U.S. have weaker math skills vs. students in other countries? And why do the math performance assessments of U.S. students continually fall short of students in other countries? Two key reasons are that students in other countries tend to follow math curricula that involve significantly more drilling of basic math operations, and also tend to use calculators much less in the classroom than do students in the U.S. ( Reassessing U.S. International Mathematics Performance: New Findings from the 2003 TIMSS and PISA, American Institutes for Research, November 2005).

Practice, practice, practice – and the ability to work through math problems without calculators – appear to be two critical criteria for U.S. students to achieve math success. But these two solutions are often out of the control of the American educational system to provide alone. How can student’s skills in the U.S. keep pace with the rest of the world? U.S. students need additional educational services to remain competitive in a global market.

GoldStudent has been designed in order to directly counter these disturbing trends and to assist the American educational system by providing supplemental assistance. GoldStudent emphasizes personalized and continuous practice drills (math worksheets) of basic math concepts for all students. Students are able to test their math skills through a series of math performance tasks that are personalized to their skill level. Throughout their studies with GoldStudent, students receive math performance assessments to track how they are progressing over time. At GoldStudent we also believe in performance based math, meaning that students are rewarded for their practice and their progress.

It is true that currently students in the U.S. have weaker math skills vs. students in other countries. But there is quite a bit that parents can do to help their children succeed in math and ultimately succeed in the global job market.

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As parents we all want our children to succeed.  We often feel that they have the ability to do well in everything, and that all they lack is a little motivation or energy.  As a result we tend to push our children to do better, to try harder and to do a better job.  This is true in all things, in all school activities and school subjects.  And of course it is also true in math.  Math pressure, the stress of math homework, the volume of math skills necessary to master a topic it can all be very stressful for children .

But how do you know when you are pushing too hard, or maybe when you should push harder?

There is of course no one answer.  All children are individuals, and all will respond in individual way to pressure and stress.  Math pressure and math homework stress is no different.  Most children will respond well to some pressure, but most will also start to show negative reactions if pushed too hard.

Here are some key signs that indicate when you may be pushing your child too hard and/or they’re under too much pressure:

  • Your child seems depressed and does not communicate well.
  • Things that used to interest your child no longer stimulate him or her.
  • Grades begin to fall, homework is not completed, and your child displays inattention to school activities.
  • Your child exhibits antisocial behavior, such as lying, stealing and/or physical violence
  • Feelings such as restlessness, tiredness, or agitation become frequent occurrences.
  • You child refuses to cooperate, do chores, or seems to need much more attention
  • Your child has physical symptoms such as complaining about headaches or stomach pains

If you feel your child is exhibiting one or more of these signs, certainly you should consider changing your methods.  Take a step back and talk to your child about how they are feeling and where the pressure points are coming from.

Another option is to get some outside help. Talk to a counselor about your child.  If your child needs help with schoolwork, see what additional services are available to provide assistance.

One option for to help alleviate math pressure is the GoldStudent math assistance program. If your child is suffering from math stress, GoldStudent can help. GoldStudent provides math help, builds confidence, and fosters a learning environment where every student succeeds.

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Someone always asks the math teacher, “Am I going to use calculus in real life?” And for most of us, says Arthur Benjamin, the answer is no. He offers a bold proposal on how to make math education relevant in the digital age.

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In a lively show, mathemagician Arthur Benjamin races a team of calculators to figure out 3-digit squares, solves another massive mental equation and guesses a few birthdays. How does he do it? He’ll tell you.

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Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your
head.

Arithmetic tell you how many you lose or win if you know how
many you had before you lost or won.

Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven — or five
six bundle of sticks.

Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand
to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.

Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and
you can look out of the window and see the blue sky — or the
answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again
and see how it comes out this time.

If you take a number and double it and double it again and then
double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger
and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you
what the number is when you decide to quit doubling.

Arithmetic is where you have to multiply — and you carry the
multiplication table in your head and hope you won’t lose it.

If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you
eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the
other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody
offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say
Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?

If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she
gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is
better in arithmetic, you or your mother?

Arithmetic on GoldStudent blog

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You want your child to succeed in education.  You spend a great deal of energy getting your child organized, property dressed and fed, to school on time, only to find that they don’t to want to put the effort into getting their homework done, studying for tests, or learning the material they need for their subjects.

This seems to get worse as children get older, often reaching a crisis point in middle school when they begin to have different classes with different teachers, plus a host of other distractions and pressures that negatively influences their desire to succeed in school.

So how do you motivate your child to succeed in school? One tried and true method is to reward your child either with prizes, compensation, or other items that they value.

Providing your child rewards for behaviors you want to see reinforced allows them to gain pleasure in the task at hand knowing a desired outcome will follow (the prize).  Short term the child gets the prize they want.  Long term as a parent you achieve the objective of helping your child succeed in education by providing a motivation that is relevant to them.

You can offer your child various benefits for completing homework, preparing for tests and getting good grades (both at test time and reporting period levels).  Below are some ideas to try:

  • Have their weekly allowance vary depending on school performance; more weekly allowance for better performance and less allowance for poor performance.  For example, bringing home all their homework and completing it on time would earn them a high allowance week.
  • Offer a clothing allowance dependent on good performance, maybe for doing well on section or chapter tests; a good grade on a chapter test means they can pick out a new pair of sneakers, or a new sweatshirt their choice.
  • New video games: New DVDs can be good rewards for children, although of course it means adding to their screen time when they want to enjoy these prizes.
  • Trips: Awards of trips to the bowling alley, a video arcade or a pizza parlor serve as powerful motivation for your child to perform well.
  • Arranging for outside play, or playdays with friends, due to better performance or completion of work, is another good reward.

A good mix of these different types of rewards can really motivate your child.  When used sparingly (so that they do not come to be expected), rewards on the whole are highly appreciated and yet do not cause other issues (with the exception of screen time awards, which must be carefully measured).  Note: We do not recommend food awards, for example candy bars, sweet treats, or other such items, as we do not feel that food should be tied to performance.

Another way to incorporate a reward system into your child’s learning and development – specifically in math – is with GoldStudent.  GoldStudent teaches success in math partially through a reward structure.  GoldStudent rewards students for effort and progress on their math studies.  Students want to succeed in math with GoldStudent because the better they do, the more points they earn.  Students accumulate points and can exchange them for fun prizes (rewards) at any time.

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Motivation in math, or the concept of motivational math is a rare concept indeed! There are very few children that really want to practice math.  Children often think math is hard.  They see math as a chore; boring, frustrating or just plain lame?.  There are no flashing lights in math, no action figures or warrior games – all of which are provided in abundance by video games and television.

But motivation for math is still possible.  And teaching motivation in math is what GoldStudent does.  GoldStudent does not provide flashing lights and action figures in their math program.  What GoldStudent does provide is a program that not only gives students motivation for math, it also delivers a program that will have students motivated and confident and actually practicing math on an ongoing basis.  Hard to believe but true; motivation in math is possible!

When watching a child play a video game, do you ever marvel at their ability to concentrate and their attention to detail? Those same concentration and attention to detail qualities are what help children excel in math, and what GoldStudent taps into to keep motivating kids to flex their math power.

At GoldStudent, we feel that the kind of attention and concentration that is needed to do math exercises should be rewarded, and that progress and success in studying math should carry a proportional reward. As a result, GoldStudent has developed a point system to reward success and progress (aka; motivation in math) through the curriculum developed for each student.

Here’s how GoldStudent’s motivation in math works:  Students earn points for completing math worksheets and for passing topic and chapter tests. The more math work that a student accomplishes (or the more math motivation that a student displays), the more points they earn.  More points are also earned for higher performance; the higher percentage of math problems a student gets correct, the more points they accumulate. Students can constantly track on the GoldStudent website exactly how many points they have accumulated, and they’ll see how their point total grows as they make progress.   Talk about creating a motivation for math!

The points are a reward in and of themselves, but GoldStudent also provides the ability for students to redeem points for prizes. GoldStudent offers a range of prizes for which students can exchange the points they have earned in order to receive the prizes of their choosing.  Larger prizes are redeemed for more points, smaller prizes for fewer points. Available prizes range from multicolor pens and stickers, to bracelets, earrings, Game Boy & trade games to Itunes gift certificates. Parents have the ability to choose which prizes their children are permitted to exchange points for, and all prizes are shipped care of the parents name, so that parents can review all redeemed prizes before giving them to their children.

Motivation in math is possible.  As parents ourselves, we know it can be tough to get children to practice math.  But when it comes motivating your children to work on their math skills, turn to GoldStudent for help.

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