Building Critical Math Skills in the Early Grades


Teacher and elementary school students solve math problems at a whiteboard

When children in primary grades study math, they are learning more than how to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers. Solving math problems helps students develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills that are vital for academic and personal success. In Early Math Matters, SREB explores why early math is so important and provides recommendations on how state leaders can raise the math achievement of their students.

The report examines how:

  • Skills developed by solving math problems benefit students beyond math curriculum
  • Foundations laid in elementary math affect students’ abilities to master concepts in middle and high school
  • Teaching math requires a deeper knowledge than many elementary preparation programs provide
  • Teachers who lack confidence in their own abilities may pass math anxiety to their students
  • Math anxiety can adversely affect students’ math achievement

The report provides several recommendations on how states can boost math achievement, including:

  • Ensure K-5 teachers are well prepared to teach math before entering the classroom
  • Provide teachers with professional development programs designed to deepen math knowledge
  • Address ways parents and teachers can reduce math anxiety in students

Download the Early Math Matters report below to access the research and recommendations for states to improve math instruction in the early years.