A Changing World: Math Expectations for High School Students

This article explores the importance of math in the modern world. It also offers guidelines for gauging the adequacy of your student's mathematics skills in relation to their grade level.

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There is a great deal of pressure on high school students to do well in math. This is largely because college is looming on the horizon, even for ninth graders who are just beginning their high school careers. Experts recommend building a strong foundation in the principals of mathematics in order to reduce potential stress when college entrance exams and applications dominate the landscape. Strengthening your child's math skills can give them the confidence they need to excel in a high school environment that emphasizes the pressures of college applications, placement exams, standardized testing, in-class participation and, school competition. A strong foundation in mathematics prepares them for the challenges he or she will encounter both in the classroom and beyond.

To ensure that your child is receiving quality education in mathematics, monitor their progress and emphasize the important role the mathematics will come to play in life. Whether or not your child plans on pursuing a technical career, chances are they will have to work with numbers or with people who work with numbers in the future. According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics website, www.nctm.org, to maximize children's potential and to increase their odds of succeeding in a competitive and increasingly numerical world, children who are in (or about to be) high school should possess the following math skills:

  • They should employ a high level of abstract, symbolic thinking.
  • They should perceive relationships and be able to make translations among fractions, decimals, and percentages.
  • They should deal easily with a wide array of equations, formulas and proofs.
  • They should be able to explain and then illustrate mathematical concepts, rather than simply applying them.
  • They should know how to plan and self-monitor during multi-step problem solving.
  • They should feel comfortable using calculators and computers.

Making sure your child has clear comprehension and a strong mathematical foundation incorporating the list of key math skills provided above, will help to ensure your child's success throughout his or her academic and professional life.

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