A Globe and Mail editorial describes how Canadian provinces have generally fared worse in PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) math rankings since 2006, after adopting “discovery learning” – even though a review by Kirschner et al. (2006, Educ Psychol) of a hundred empirical studies found no support for the superiority of “instruction using minimal guidance”. Quebec, which resisted the adoption, continues to fare relatively well. Alberta had been reforming its math education since the 1990s to emphasize “back to basics” instruction and rigorous testing, but its simultaneous increase in math scores ended after the province adopted discovery learning around 2008. Both Alberta and Ontario have announced that they will re-emphasize “basic math facts” including multiplication tables.
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This post was written by Syngli