My simple strategy for holding on to long-term math

Even the best math teachers have students who pass the chapter exams and struggle with the same subject in the final exams — or students who have a hard time realizing better ideas because they have forgotten the basics that came before. . As a high school math teacher for over 15 years, I have seen this happen again and again.

Long-term math retention can be elusive. For students to succeed in math, they need to master advanced ideas – basic, grade-level skills – yet traditional classroom routines focus more on new information. As a result, students may be able to recall new learning concepts for immediate assignment or unit-of-unit assessment, as their perception of these concepts fades over time.

It is important to make sure that the concepts of mathematics are stuck because many new math lessons are based on the information that came before. If students do not transfer this knowledge to their long-term memory, the consequences can be detrimental to their future achievement.

Fortunately, there is a simple, proven technique that teachers can use to improve long-term math retention – increasing math practice. I have used this technique in my math classroom for many years and have seen remarkable results. Here’s how to use growing math practice to improve long-term math retention.

The key to success: growing mathematical practice

To break the “learn-forget, learn-forget” cycle, students learn new ideas and provide targeted, individualized practice, while educators can blend in with previous content reviews.

Growing reviews shouldn’t take time away from instructions. For example, in my algebra classroom, I give students practice problems that are not only based on recent skills or concepts that we’ve covered recently, but also on concepts from previous units of instruction.

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