Why Do Some Students Have Difficulty Learning Math?
Which subject do teens like least? You guessed it! According to Gallup, high school students say math is their #1 least favorite subject.
And they’re not alone, Gallup also reports that “Although U.S. eighth-graders scored above the international average in the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), students in Singapore, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Korea, and Japan outperformed their American peers, just as they did in previous surveys. Students in four European countries — Belgium, Estonia, Hungary, and the Netherlands — also outpaced U.S. students.”
Not Enough time, Nor Repetition
The reason for this is that often many students need time and repetition to grasp new math concepts. However, a teacher’s instructional timeline may not match up with students’ need for more time to grasp the new concept. As the teacher moves on to the next concept, students begin to feel lost if they haven’t understood the previous concept.
Why Are High School Students Getting Lost?
You may recall (or not), math concepts build upon one another. Students have to understand each math topic before moving on to the next one. Not grasping concepts when they are presented in class can result in students becoming frustrated. And then they often give up trying.
What Can Help Struggling High School Students?
- What is often needed is more practice.
- Many teenagers may also need more exposure to an idea, from having it re-explained to doing more problems until the method for solving the problem becomes more automatic.
- Other teenagers may need different or repeated explanations in order to understand the math concept.
What Makes Math Difficult for Students With Learning Challenges?
Students with learning challenges, such as dyscalculia, may have difficulties learning
- the “language” of math,
- analyzing and synthesizing information,
- making conclusions, and/or
Depressed or Anxious Students May Face Extra Challenges
Furthermore, students who are anxious or depressed may have difficulty concentrating, making learning challenging. To gain a better understanding of the mathematical problems experienced by high school students (and younger) with learning challenges, click here.
What Can Parents Do to Help?
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