Understanding the ‘New Math’ Your Children Are Learning

December 23, 2021
In Barbara Armijo's story for U.S. News and World Report on understanding the 'new math,' our Senior Educational Consultant and Associate Director of Service Design, Jen Gleason, explains how the new way of teaching math is not an either/or situation.

"The new way of teaching math focuses on building students’ conceptual understanding so that they understand the ‘why’ of math, and what the underlying concepts are about the procedures they are learning,” says Jen. “Kids are now working toward using this deep, conceptual understanding to then apply the knowledge,” she continues. “But this doesn’t mean there is no emphasis on fluency. There is still a heavy emphasis on kids being able to fluently apply algorithms."

Read the full article here.


Teaching Matters has a long history of supporting teachers in building content knowledge and pedagogical expertise so they can support kids in mastering the rigor of Next Generation Learning Standards and being college and career ready in mathematics. This year specifically, we are focusing on supporting teachers who have kids who are back in school after uneven access to instructional math time. Made possible by a generous grant from the Heckscher Foundation for Children, we have launched a Math Acceleration Pilot to focus on this particular concept in middle school.

Our goal is to develop teachers’ capacity to accelerate student learning through rigorous grade-level mathematics instruction that builds conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and application skills in a supportive, welcoming, and affirming classroom environment. We strive to systematically measure the impact of our work through outcomes related to students’ mastery of standards, perceptions of the learning environment, and changes in teacher practice. In addition, we aim to codify content to support scale and sustainability and set targeted goals for the codification of our work.

As a result of this pilot, we hope to:

  • Create a “math playbook” of  research-based tools that will equip teachers to enact equitable and rigorous instruction. Specifically, we aim to codify the highest leverage strategies to foster a culturally responsive mathematics classroom environment, routines to build fluency, and best practices to build conceptual understanding of the highest priority middle school content.
  • Systemize our coaching work that guides teachers to plan for learning acceleration. We will collect lesson plans and student work that serve as authentic examples of these practices “in-action.”  Our newly codified service will include workshop sessions, coaching supports and instructional strategies that are most impactful in improving culturally responsive-sustaining math education that accelerates student learning, providing kids with the opportunities they need to be on-track for high school and beyond.

Learn more about how our Math Matters coaching solution can help you and your school make rigorous grade-level, culturally responsive mathematics instruction a reality! 

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