What is Singapore Math?
The Singapore math method is a highly effective teaching approach originally developed by Singapore’s Ministry of Education in the 1980s for Singapore public schools.
The method has been widely adopted in various forms around the world over the past twenty years following our introduction of the curriculum to the U.S. in 1998. Read our story here.
Singapore consistently ranks at the top in international math testing. The intentional progression of concepts in the Singapore math approach instills a deep understanding of mathematics.
Two international tests, the TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), assess math and science competency in countries around the world. Singapore students consistently rank among the top on both tests.
The Singapore math method is focused on mastery, which is achieved through intentional sequencing of concepts.
Some of the key features of the approach include the CPA (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract) progression, number bonds, bar modeling, and mental math.
Instead of pushing through rote memorization, students learn to think mathematically and rely on the depth of knowledge gained in previous lessons.
An attitude that math is important and approachable is also essential. Students perform at a higher level when their potential for understanding and success is assumed.
In typical U.S. math programs, students get a worked example, then solve problems that very closely follow that example, repeating all the same steps with different numbers. In Singapore math, students must think through concepts and apply them in new ways from the very start. Since they can’t rely on simple replication, students are pushed to greater engagement and broader thinking. In U.S. math programs, concepts and skills are more compartmentalized within and across grade levels than in Singapore math, where a strong sense of connectivity to past learning is woven throughout.
Singapore math not only helps students become more successful problem solvers, it helps them gain a sense of confidence and resourcefulness because it insists on conceptual depth. This naturally prepares students to excel in more advanced math.
CPA (Concrete Pictorial Abstract) Approach: Introduces concepts in a tangible way and progresses to increasing levels of abstraction.
Number Bonds: Shows the part-whole relationship between numbers.
Bar Modeling: Helps students visualize a range of math concepts, such as fractions, ratios, and percentages. Allows students to determine the knowns and unknowns in a given situation.
Mental Math: Helps students develop number sense and flexibility in thinking about numbers.
We started Singapore Math Inc. because we thought everyone should have access to this effective teaching approach. All of our programs preserve the techniques, sequencing, and rigor that define Singapore math. We continue to provide the original curriculum that put Singapore math on the map, while evolving the Singapore math approach through new series to better serve today’s students and educators.