Ninth graders’ math skills have declined in part due to insufficient vocabulary

Ninth graders’ math skills have declined in part due to insufficient vocabulary

“When a math problem is presented verbally, you have to understand words like face, function, and probability just to understand the problem.” Jari Metsämuuronensenior assessment specialist from Karvi, comment For YLE on Thursday.

In his opinion, educators should pay attention to the development of students’ vocabulary, also from the point of view of mathematics, from the very first grades.

The report reveals that some students’ poor math skills are linked to a lack of patience. However, the deterioration of mathematical skills can also be due to the fact that students are not necessarily motivated to try their best in tests that do not affect their grades in future study opportunities.

Karvi assessed ninth-grade students’ math skills for the first time entirely digitally and found that students did worse than before on problems that required a visual answer or visual problem-solving ability. For example, students struggled to determine the number of triangles that fit into a square, and they underestimated the total by half compared to analog tests.

“We had a number of problems where performance deteriorated even for A students,” Metsämuuronen said.

He added that, on a general level, one factor may be that students simply aren’t motivated to remember information in today’s world, where much of memory capacity has been outsourced to technology.

“We outsource our knowledge. One could say that there is no need to know anything by heart because it can be found on Google or ChatGPT has the answer,” he said.

Karvi has previously reported, based on the same data, that pupils who come to the end of the elementary school journey can be more clearly divided into three groups based on their math skills: weakly skilled, sufficiently skilled and excellent pupils.

Some ninth graders have very poor math skills. Metsämuuronen revealed to public radio that more than a third of the students who took part in the test performed at the level of an average sixth grade student at most.

Karvi recommends that students be offered more intensive support from the early school years, because the further their journey through elementary school is, the more difficult it is to bridge the differences in skills.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Source: The Nordic Page


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