As STEM skills are gaining importance in the job market -- that is science, technology, engineering and math -- American students' math test scores are slipping.
As a parent, what can you do to help your child improve grades and test scores in math?
Select Course Work Wisely
Talk to your children about what their future plans are for college, being sure to discuss career opportunities in STEM. Even if he or she is uncertain now, talking about the future can be motivational. Steering their career path early will help them remain focused and on target for their larger goals.
If any questions arise, your child's teachers can be a great resource for information and advice.
Better Math Gear
You can motivate students and bolster academic performance by providing them with the technology they need to succeed.
"As students get older and enter advanced classes, they will need higher-functioning tools to solve difficult equations quickly, and explore more complex connections and applications," says Dr. Karen Greenhaus, education technology expert at Casio America, Inc. "Be sure to provide your child with calculators that have menus and processes right on the screen, which will help reduce the amount of time it takes for them to work out the equation and get to more in-depth learning and conceptual understanding."
Greenhaus notes that it's also important to find calculators that are permitted on important tests, such as AP, SAT and SAT II well in advance of taking these tests, so that children understand the tools they need to support their test-taking abilities.
New models, such as those from Casio, can help students explore math-related activities and exercises easily due to their broader range of functions and faster processing speeds. The PRIZM's icon-based menu makes usability more intuitive than previous calculator models and USB connectivity helps students take their lessons from calculator to computer. More information can be found at www.CasioEducation.com.
Healthy Study Habits
As a parent, you can help ensure your student maintains habits that foster better learning.
When it comes to homework and studying, discourage procrastination. Regularly check in with your child's progress and ask about upcoming tests. If math is one of your child's more difficult subjects, suggest he or she start with math homework first and save favorite subjects for later in the evening.
Make sure students get plenty of sleep. Classroom material is best absorbed when students are alert.
While math scores nationwide are falling, the right tools and study habits can help your student buck the trend.