It turns out that the blog that criticized Barbara Oakley’s NY Times op-ed has run Oakley’s comment, which was featured here a few days ago. The blogger responded:
“Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post and also for including references as well. I have edited my original post to include reference to some of the more extensive research programs on children’s mathematics learning.”
It’s hard for me to tell what she changed in the blog post, but she did bold the following statement:
“It is true that traditional ways of teaching mathematics have been shown to be harmful for all students, and even more harmful for non-dominant populations, including girls. This phenomenon has been widely documented by professors of mathematics education such as Rochelle Gutierrez, Jo Boaler, and others.”
from the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (for grades 3 through 8 ) and the ITED (high school grades) from the early 40’s through the 80’s for the State of Iowa.
The scores (in all subject areas, not just math) show a steady increase from the 40’s to about 1965, and then a dramatic decline from 1965 to the mid-70’s. One conclusion that can be drawn from these test scores is that the method of education in effect during that period appeared to be working. And by definition, whatever was working during that time period was not failing. And this was at a time when traditional math teaching was the mainstay.
The blogger also states that:
“Oakley’s characterization of “the way we teach math in the America” is backwards. Whereas she says we have foregone drill and practice for conceptual understanding, our problem in the United States is understood by learning scientists to be precisely the opposite. “