Abstract mathematics is learned by usage, practice, and memorization. However, for a pragmatic influential political scientist, this idea is unacceptable. His solution? The same as that of the influential progressive educator of the early 20th century: Just get rid of high school algebra, and instead, create “real-world” courses which teach students “how the Consumer Price Index is computed”, or how mathematics can be used “in art and music — even poetry.” And the idea that “real-world” problems are more effective than abstract symbolic manipulation is being constantly “confirmed” by thousands of (p-hacked) “studies” by progressive reformists, which “have shown” that pure math, such as multiplication table, is bad for students!
A new global report, however, based on how students from 64 countries answered survey questions that accompanied an international test, called the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, confirms what advocates of rigor in mathematics education and traditionalists have been saying all along. That applied-math instruction, or the way it is actually taught in classrooms, may not be serving students well. In fact, the report shows that
despite the fact that the PISA exam itself is largely a test of applied math, not equation-solving, the students with more pure math instruction were better able to handle PISA questions.
This report will most likely have little effect on how math is taught in US schools, and “research” results, funded in millions of dollars by the government, will be still pouring out — as they have been since the 1960s — that pure and abstract math instruction is detrimental to student learning … and the performance of students keeps deteriorating (75% of 12th graders failed a national math test in 2015), and the “researchers” convince the government that the solution to students’ failure is more funding and more “research!”