Check out the exciting innovations for back-to-school. Learn more

21st Century Math Skills: A Critical Component to Success

As it becomes increasingly apparent that having mathematics knowledge will be a critical component of success in the jobs of the future, educators are reworking math teaching strategies to ensure that students develop these skills early.

A renewed emphasis has been placed on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education lately because it is believed that this knowledge will be an integral part of helping the American economy to expand and thrive.

Shortage of People
According to Forbes, there is a shortage of people with these critical skills, In fact, the gap between the skills available in today’s workforce and those needed for 21st century jobs is creating a serious challenge for American employers, Raytheon – a technology company – indicated.

As a result, it is more important than ever before that the K-12 education system take pains to instill STEM knowledge in students at an early age by placing an emphasis on elementary math. Mathematics, as the Partnership for 21st Century Skills explains, is a common language that prepares students for college and their future careers.

The Importance of Math
Math is no longer simply a solitary subject in and of itself. Rather, its integration into multiple aspects of everyday life in the 21st century – from the use of technology to the paying of bills – makes it necessary to show students how it can be integrated with other subjects.

For example, elementary math teachers can help students build their critical thinking and problem solving skills by asking them to look for a logical structure when solving math problems and back up their answers with verifiable evidence.

“It’s no longer about what a student knows, it’s about what they can do with what they know,” assistant superintendent Kimberly Beck  said, according to The Ridgefield Press.

Common Core State Standards
Connecticut, like the 45 other states and districts that have adopted the Common Core State Standards, is reworking its math resources and instruction methods to ensure that it is able to help students develop the 21st century math skills they will need to be successful in the future.

In addition to the fact that mathematical knowledge will be an important prerequisite for many growing careers in the coming years – particularly those focused on technology development and implementation – advocates also note that it fosters a multitude of other skills in students, including creative thinking and collaboration. To promote these skills, math teaching strategies will likely evolve in the coming years.

Related White Paper
21st Century Learning An Essential Element of 21st Century Teaching and Learning
Intelligent adaptive learning is defined as digital learning that immerses students in modular learning environments where every decision a student makes is captured, considered in the context of sound learning theory, and then used to guide the student’s learning experiences, to adjust the student’s path and pace within and between lessons, and to provide formative and summative data to the student’s teacher.