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    The Singapore Math® story


    In the beginning ...

    Singapore Math Inc.® was the first company to bring math books from Singapore to the U.S. This was in 1998 when only a handful of academics in the U.S. were aware of the high quality curriculum materials in Singapore. We did our research, and selected the best primary (Primary Mathematics published by Federal Publications) and secondary (New Elementary Mathematics published by Pan Pacific Publications) series that were available in Singapore at that time.

    We first approached the Singapore publishers of Primary Mathematics in 1997 for exclusive permission to distribute their books in the U.S. market. Our initial request was met with skepticism on the part of the publishers because they did not believe there was a market for Singapore math books in the U.S. However, we were persistent, and they agreed when we made it clear to them that our company would be solely responsible for all the marketing and selling expenses. In other words, our company was assuming all the effort, expenses and financial risks required to break into the U.S. market with the Singapore math books. We brought in the first shipment of Primary Mathematics and New Elementary Mathematics in 1998.

    How we made it happen...

    We started reaching out to homeschoolers and private schools. It was not an easy task for a small company to convince customers that math books published in a tiny country and written in British English were really some of the best in the world. But through hard work and determination, the word was out about "Singapore Math" in less than two years.

    "Singapore Math"...

    The term, "Singapore Math," came into use in the U.S. around the year 2000 when U.S. academics, homeschoolers, schools and the media started referring to our books as Singapore Math® books. Since then, "Singapore Math" is the descriptive term used by customers, educators and the media to refer to our company and the math books that we distribute. The term Singapore math books is not used in Singapore, where they just use the term maths books (what other math would they be using!). In 2001, we incorporated our company under the name SingaporeMath.com Inc. Singapore Math® is a registered trademark of our company and it refers to the brand of Singapore math series that we have put together for the U.S. and Canadian markets.

    Our continual success ...

    In 2003 we collaborated with the publishers of Primary Mathematics (Times Media, now Marshall Cavendish International (Singapore) Pte Ltd ) to create the U.S. Edition of Primary Mathematics. Our company started publishing some supplementary series and guides for this U.S. Edition of Primary Mathematics. We also started working with other publishers in Singapore to bring in some top supplementary titles and other secondary level mathematics series to ensure that our Singapore Math® brand maintained its reputation for providing academically rigorous products. While there have been other primary math series published in Singapore since, we do not believe any of them meet the same standards as the Primary Mathematics series. In 2008 we rolled out the Standards Edition of the Primary Mathematics series. Most recently, we added a CCSS Edition of Discovering Mathematics, which we worked on with Star Publishing for the U.S. market. In late spring 2014, our Common Core Edition of Primary Mathematics will be released.

    Our commitment...

    We are committed to providing the best Singapore math programs in order to maintain the high standards of our Singapore Math® brand products for the North American market.


    Primary Mathematics Series

    The Singapore Math® brand books as used in the U.S. and Canada refers to the Primary Mathematics series. The Primary Mathematics Series was first published in 1982 and was the only series used in Singapore primary schools until 2001. Primary Mathematics was written by members of a project team put together by the Ministry of Education, Singapore.

    Changes in math curriculum in Singapore from 1981 through 2001

    1981

    The first Primary Mathematics curriculum was developed in 1981 by CDIS (Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore), now called CPDD (Curriculum Planning & Development Institute of Singapore). The Primary Mathematics Series was first published in 1982 and was the only series used in Singapore primary schools until 2001. The 1981 curriculum focused on content (e.g. computation), and problem solving did not receive a prominent role.

    1992

    The 1981 curriculum was revised in 1992 to make it a problem solving curriculum. The 1992 curriculum required pupils to be able to do some problem solving, i.e., the use of (simple) math in novel / complex situations. The Primary Mathematics (Second Edition) was based on the 1992 curriculum.

    The Primary Mathematics (Second Edition) was published for Primary 1 in 1991, for Primary 2 in 1992, Primary 3 in 1992, Primary 4 in 1992, Primary 5 and 6 in 1995.

    1994

    From 1992-1994, there was no significant changes to the curriculum. However, content was further reduced in 1994.

    The Primary Mathematics (Third Edition) for Primary 1 and 2 were based on the 1994 reduced syllabus.

    1999 Reduced-Content curriculum

    In 1999, Singapore's Ministry of Education decided to reduce the content in the curriculum in order to provide room for teachers to implement key initiatives (namely the infusing of thinking skills and integrating the use of Information Technology in lessons and the delivery of the National Education messages). Curriculum content was reduced by up to 30% for most subjects.

    The content removed or reduced from the subject syllabuses includes the following:
    • Concepts or skills which are not fundamental to the essence of the subject studied or which rely on plain recall
    • Content which overlaps with that taught at other levels in the same subject or with what is taught in other subjects
    • Content which focuses on technical details rather than conceptual understanding and is no longer relevant in the Singapore context or in real world practice
    • Content which is too difficult or abstract for the intended level
    Please see press release "Content Reduction in the Curriculum" http://www.moe.gov.sg/press/1998/980716.htm.

    The Primary Mathematics (Third Edition) was published for Primary 3 in 1999, Primary 4 in 2000, Primary 5 in 1999 and Primary 6 in 2000. The Third Edition was a further refinement to the Second Edition so that the aims of the 1992 syllabus were better met.

    One of the major chapters removed from Primary Mathematics (Second Edition) was "Division of Fractions". This chapter was reinserted in our Primary Mathematics (US Edition).

    All the new series (first published in 2001) are based on the 1999 reduced-content syllabus.

    2001 Singapore Primary Math curriculum

    In 2001 implementation of the the second stage of the 1999 content reduction for curriculum commenced. This stage involved changes in teaching methodologies, learning approaches and assessment modes. Three initiatives were also introduced - National Education (to develop citizenship skills and values in the Singapore context), Information Technology (to bring hardware and software technology into schools. However, for the new primary math series, the IT content is found only in the teacher's CD ROMs. It is not mentioned in the textbooks or workbooks, as the IT materials are not reviewed by MOE), and Critical and Creative Thinking (to infuse thinking skills).

    Starting from 2001, textbooks for primary level mathematics have been privatized with the hope that the changes will be faster and there will be more choices. The content in the new series that was first published in 2001 remained the same as the 1999 reduced syllabus.

    Please see press release http://www.moe.gov.sg/speeches/1999/sp081099.htm.

    2005 onward ...

    Will there be another revision of the Singapore mathematics syllabus in the near future? Yes. Textbooks first published in 2001 were revised in 2007. Changes in 2007 (for texts now used in Singapore) included earlier introduction of calculators (in level 5), reduction in mental math, and removal of operations on compound units in measurement. The content of Primary Mathematics Series remains the same till these days.

    Summary of curriculum changes from 1981-2001:

    1981/1982 1992 1994-1999 2001 2003
    First Primary Mathematics curriculum was developed. The 1981 curriculum was revised to make it a problem solving curriculum. This is basically the same curriculum used since 1992. The curriculum was reduced in order to provide room for teachers to implement key initiatives (namely the infusing of thinking skills and integrating the use of Information Technology in lessons and the delivery of the National Education messages). Based on the 1999 reduced syllabus, the following three initiatives were added:
    1. National Education (to develop citizenship
      skills and values in the Singapore context). Sample.
    2. Information Technology (to bring hardware and software technology into schools. However, the IT content is found only in the teacher's CD ROMs. It is not mentioned in the textbooks/workbooks as the IT materials are not reviewed by MOE.)
    3. Critical and Creative Thinking (to infuse thinking skills). Sample

    Publishers hired their own writers to write the new series. The teaching of concepts and methods are not exactly the same as Primary Mathematics.

    SingaporeMath.com received approval from MOE, Singapore to adapt the third edition with the following major changes:
    1. Add back a whole chapter that was removed in the 1999 reduced syllabus - "Division of Fractions".
    2. Add chapters on customary measurements for weight, length and volume. (The existing 3rd edition metric systems were not removed).
    3. Use American currencies instead of Singapore currencies.
    Series title:

    Primary Mathematics

    Series title:

    Primary Mathematics 2nd edition

    Series title:

    Primary Mathematics 3rd edition

    Series title:

    Various

    Series title:

    Primary Mathematics U.S. Edition


    On the Primary Mathematics series:

    Singapore students scored first place in 1995, 1999 and 2003 TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). Singapore students who scored top in TIMSS in 1995, 1999 and 2003 were all using the Primary Mathematics series. Therefore, we can say that the Primary Mathematics series is a time- tested and documented math success story. We are pleased to have chosen this series to adapt to Primary Mathematics U.S. Edition. With three TIMSS results, and the support of top math academics in the U.S., we feel confident with our choice. Click here for More information about the adaptation of the Primary Mathematics 3rd edition into the Primary Mathematics U.S. edition.


    TIMSS

    What is TIMSS?

    TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study - the earlier acronym was Third International Mathematics and Science Study) is designed to measure trends in students’ mathematics and science achievement in four-year cycles.

    What is the purpose of these studies?

    Please visit TIMSS web site at http://isc.bc.edu/timss2003.html for detailed information.

    Please also visit IEA web site at http://www.iea.nl/iea/hq/ for more information.

    Who conducts these studies?

    These studies are conducted by the International Association for Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). IEA is an independent, international cooperative of national research institutions and governmental research agencies. They are based in Boston.

    How many TIMSS have been conducted so far?

    Conducted on a four-year cycle, the first round of TIMSS was in 1995, the second in 1999, the third in 2003, and the fourth in 2007.

    General Information on TIMSS:

    TIMSS 2003

    TIMSS 1999

    TIMSS 1995

    TIMSS reports on student achievement:

    2003

    1999

    1995

    Complete TIMSS reports (very long pdf files):

    2003

    1999

    1995

    What does TIMSS have to do with Singapore Math Inc.®?

    Singapore's 4th and 8th grade students scored top place for Mathematics in 1995, 1999 and 2003.

    Singapore students who took TIMSS in 1995, 1999 and 2003 were using the Primary Mathematics series, New Elementary Mathematics and New Syllabus Mathematics (5th Edition) - the same series that we are the official distributor of in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

    What are the key findings of TIMSS pertaining to Singapore's outstanding performance in mathematics?

    Please see the following press releases by the Ministry of Education, Singapore:

    http://www.moe.gov.sg/press/2004/pr20041214.htm (for TIMSS 2003)

    http://www.moe.gov.sg/press/2000/pr06122000.htm (for TIMSS 1999)

    http://www.moe.gov.sg/press/1997/st00297.htm (for TIMSS 1995)


    AIR Study

    What is AIR?

    The American Institutes for Research (AIR) is one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world.

    What is the purpose of this study?

    Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the study What the United States Can Learn From Singapore’s World-Class Mathematics System (and what Singapore can learn from the United States) identified major differences between the mathematics frameworks, textbooks, assessments, and teacher preparation in the U.S. and Singapore.

    What else does the study include?

    The study also includes initial results from four pilot programs that used the Singapore Math ® curriculum in place of their previous curriculum. The pilot programs involved students in Baltimore, Md., Montgomery County, Md., North Middlesex, Mass., and Paterson, N.J.

    What Singapore Math® books did these pilot programs use?

    All four pilot programs used the Primary Mathematics series.

    Where can I find the full AIR report?

    Please visit the AIR web site for the summarized report.