Recently, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) conducted a survey of 400 mathematics teachers. Laura Ascione of eschoolnews summarized some of the key findings from the teachers surveyed, and we think some of them are particularly useful to you as parents supporting your child’s development in mathematics.

Here are some key excerpts from the article beginning with the intro:

Poor performance in previous math classes and low confidence are some of students’ biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to math success, according to a new survey about math education.

The survey of more than 400 high school math teachers comes from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). Teachers in the survey are all coaches for student teams participating in the MathWords Math Modeling (M3) Challenge, a national online contest SIAM organizes.

The results indicate that students don’t need innate math genius to excel. Instead, they need practice, confidence, and real-world connections.

“Contrary to public opinion, the results of the survey demonstrate that success in math is not based on nature, but rather, an aptitude for math can be nurtured with effort, motivation, and self-assurance,” says Michelle Montgomery, M3 Challenge project director at SIAM. “The results also reinforce the importance of making math relevant to everyday life as a foundation to increase students’ desire to learn.”

Later in the article, Laura reveals what teachers surveyed said about how parents can support their children’s mathematics education:

Parental support

Most surveyed teachers chose the following three things parents can do to help their children succeed in math: avoid speaking negatively about math (73 percent); encourage students to seek help when needed, such as from a friend, teacher, or outside resource (70 percent); and show an interest in their children’s math studies and talk about what they learned in math that day (45 percent).

Making math relevant outside the classroom is the underlying reason MathWorks sponsors M3 Challenge, says Lauren Tabolinsky, MathWorks academic program manager. “Our support of M3 Challenge is one more step in our efforts to help teachers as they motivate and inspire young students to consider and pursue STEM careers,” she says.

“M3 Challenge reinforces the importance of math in everyday life and encourages computational thinking, logic, problem solving, and even some technical computing and programming among high school students,” she adds.

Laura Ascione is Managing Editor, Content Services at ESchoolMedia. View her bio, more of her work, and the full article referenced above at You can follow Laura on twitter @eSN_Laura.

Back to Blog Home