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Big Win for U.S. in Int'l Math Competition, Experts Say Change Still Needed

Big Win for U.S. in International Math Competition, Experts Say Change Still Needed

High school students from across the globe recently competed in the International Mathematical Olympiad and the United States won it all for the first time in 21 years, raising speculation about whether or not the country is improving as desired in math studies.

"Hailed as the 'hardest ever' competition by The Guardian, the final score reflects the exhaustive preparatory work done by coaches and students alike. Team USA, led by Carnegie Mellon professor Po-Shen Loh, took the crown for the first time since 1994, NPR reported," according to The Christian Science Monitor.

The win is important in itself but also because it's "been a long time coming;" as the US has repeatedly performed at or under the international standard for years in math and science subjects. The past decade has seen a growing emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) studies, and many wonder if the coveted international win is a signal of improvement.

Many experts agree the win is a good sign but caution that it is not an indicator that the problem is solved and that improvement to the way the United States teaches math is still needed.

Said the United States team leader Po-Shen Loh to NPR,

"'It could be that maybe the way math is sold, in some sense, is one in which it's just a bunch of formulas to memorize. I think if we are able to communicate to the greater American public that mathematics is not just about memorizing a bunch of formulas, but in fact is as creative as the humanities and arts, quite possibly you might be able to upend the culture difference,' he told NPR," according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Read the full story here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/21/2015

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