Math Gaps: Deep Potholes on the Road to Learning

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For all the familiar reasons, students have received less instruction in many subjects since March 2020. The largest gaps appear to be in math for students in middle and high school. Math builds on itself, so students need solid foundational math skills as they move forward in school. The New York Times reported how a math professor at the University of Illinois “triaged” a class to focus on fundamentals. He removed college-level material from the course to make time available to work on fundamentals that students didn’t learn in high school.

At Dogwood, we see deeper gaps when preparing students for ACT or SAT math testing. Before Covid, it was common to see juniors with learning loss from Algebra I or Geometry because those courses were taken years earlier. Now juniors come in with gaps because they didn’t learn those topics at all because the instruction was so diluted. They may have received As or Bs in the courses but didn’t learn the basic material.

We see the same kind of math deficits when helping students at all levels with their school coursework. And it can hurt science learning as well. Where there are gaps in algebra skills, students are likely to struggle with understanding physics concepts and applying the formulas. We are helping more students than ever with a combination of math and science skill building. Given the recent low math scores on NEAP tests for students in fourth and eighth grades, it’s likely that math gaps will continue for years. The good news is that customized one-on-one tutoring does a great job at filling gaps by explaining concepts and their applications.

Please call Dogwood at 678-735-7555 if your student needs to strengthen his or her foundational math skills. Math builds on itself… all the way to college.  

Photo: Jim Bachor