Singapore Students Are Most STEM-Savvy In The World: What Does America Need To Improve On?

By Olivia Reese, Parent Herald December 02, 04:00 am
All over the world, students in Singapore are the best in both math and science in each tested grade level. How do they do it?
(Photo : Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Singapore students surpass the rest of the world in STEM education. A new report from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) found that students in Singapore champion both math and science in each tested grade level. How do they do it?

Students in the United States have improved their placement in math and science over the years but they are still far from where Singapore students stand, Education World reported. According to experts, a big reason why Singapore students succeed in STEM is because of their true mastery of "a limited number of concepts each school year."

Students in Singapore learn math and science materials on "a deeper level" and they don't just study it "for a test." In contrast, American education "often relies on drilling and memorization of many skills each year," specifically in math.

In Singapore's approach, students don't just memorize the lessons; their mastery of the material helps them remember vital concepts in each grade. Singapore math also uses model learning that visually displays a word problem via units.

An administrator for Martin Elementary School said that using visuals or pictures in math lessons teaches students "to visualize what a word problem is saying so they can understand the meaning and thus how to solve the problem," Education World further reported. Mental math is a huge aspect of learning in Singapore, as well.

Students in Singapore are encouraged to calculate math in their heads so they can develop a "number sense and place value." This way, pupils can solve a math problem without relying on outside tools such as calculators.

Singaporean education promotes a growth mindset. Singapore's Ministry of Education has faith on the power of "research-proven pedagogical approaches" when it comes to long-term learning beyond examinations.

A growth mindset teaches students to persevere at a young age and conquer difficult materials such as advanced math. Experts said that a growth mindset helps students get over the belief that they're "just not good at it" and instead, feel that they will eventually succeed through constant tries.

TIMSS conducts global education report cards every four years to 10 to 14-year-old students, according to Quartz. Students in Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan also dominate math and science aside from Singapore. A total of 60 countries were evaluated by TIMSS this year.

What do you think of Singapore's excellence in math and science? Should the U.S. adopt their education methods? Tell us what you think below.

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