Math - Challenge Map



The Challenge

Districts are looking for effective mathematics curricula and instructional strategies to support a range of learners, from remedial to advanced, and to integrate authentic examples that ground math in the real world. It can be challenging for educators to address student gaps in mathematical understanding, but filling these gaps is crucial before students move on to higher-level math courses like algebra, geometry, and advanced STEM subjects. Districts seek new strategies to encourage families to practice math skills at home, during the school year and the summer.

Challenge Stats


Respondents reported this challenge is widespread


Respondents reported they experience this challenge often

Ideas from the Field

  • One district is focusing on professional development for math in elementary school by going back to basics, and addressing specific teacher competencies at all grade levels. In addition, they are bringing kindergarten teachers into sessions with older teachers so that every grade level has an understanding of what happens in other grades.
  • Another district is realizing the role that family engagement plays in math achievement, and is working to make sure that especially minority and low-income families are aware of the various systems of support and opportunities for their students to access more/varied math learning experiences.

In the Words of District Staff

It is very challenging to teach math to the upper grades online and our teachers are struggling to do so, especially because any of our students do not have a graphing calculator at home.
High school teacher
Spring 2020

“We realized that a lot of our kids don't get to community college or don't stay in community college because when they have to take the math placement test, they do so poorly that they are required to take four remedial courses before they ever get to a credit course for community college. That's sufficiently discouraging for them to drop out.”

“A lot of our new instructional strategies, our parents do not understand, even at the elementary level. And so, it's very hard to connect with families, and get them to participate in math without them saying, "Just do it my way," which is different. Giving kids multiple ways to think about strategies, and family engagement is a challenge for the new math standards, and math curriculum.”


Math Learning topic page - From Digital Promise, this page provides an introduction and key findings from the research on the learning and teaching of mathematics, including links to additional resources.

Math PK-2 model - From Digital Promise, a research-driven, holistic representation of all of the critical variables that affect how PK-2nd graders learn math, including proven instructional strategies.

Youcubed - From youcubed at Stanford, this site offers research-based teaching methods, math tasks, videos, and ideas meant to significantly reduce math failure and inequality.

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