Poor numerical calculation among middle school students: Study

May 9, 2022

Nearly one in five students lack abilities to do basic calculation even when they have reached middle school, resulting in complex issues in the higher grades, a study has found.

The year-long study of students between class 6-10 culminated in the State of Maths Learning Report, which, among the other highlights, had it that student’s ability to solve complex problems in higher classes is affected as they lack basic skills.

The study found 17.4% of the students, or nearly one in five, were found to lack basic calculation by the time they reach class 6. “From Class 7 onwards, not only the concepts tend to become more abstract, students also often need to use multiple concepts to solve a single problem,” said Nirmal Shah, cofounder of Countingwell, which commissioned the study.

“Further, we also noticed a decline in parents’ involvement in teaching maths, which is understandable as parents also find it hard to explain complex and abstract concepts easily to their children.”

Overall, the study also found that there were poor comprehension skills among middle school students. Year-long study of students reveals drastic drop in scores from Grade 7 onwards which directly contribute to drastic fall in Maths scores from class 7 onwards, attributed to growing complexity of concepts and poor comprehension of them.

Out of the 75,000 middle-school students nationwide for over a year and found that on average, just 28% of the students showcased good comprehension skills. 17.4% of the students, or nearly one in five, were found to lack basic calculation by the time they reach class 6.

Nirmal added, “Purpose of the study was to accurately determine the challenges that school students were facing in learning maths, understanding the extent of these challenges and then trying to find solutions for them. We hope the findings of this report will serve as valuable inputs for schools and teachers to help their students get better in maths.”

The report’s findings also run counter to another widely held belief that boys are distinctly better at studying or mastering maths than girls, noting that difference in maths knowledge, calculation or modeling was insignificant. However, boys scored better in comprehension than girls.  

Also read: Countingwell’s State of Math Learning report 2021

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