Building a foundation or a house of cards?

Good enough often is not enough when building a foundation

Many students, even when scheduled for regular sessions from day 1 of term, start from too far behind.

There’s a dangerous idea, that ‘good enough’ is indeed good enough, to carry a student through their math career. This may be practical and true in the last year of high school when there are no future university requirements, but adopting this attitude early can lead to disaster, not only academically, but in how they will process life as an adult.

building a foundation math tutoring

Don’t settle for a house of cards: build a foundation. Click to contact.

Math is quite binary at this level: not only is there usually only one right answer, there are often only a few valid ways of thinking about a problem. If the student doesn’t have access to any of them, they shouldn’t be getting a C or D for effort, they should be getting 0. Partial marks are for calculation errors.

So the grade is a mirage: 80-100% means some level of understanding and progression; <60% really means 0.

As the student progresses, there’s an assumption that applying their previously learned skills will strengthen their understanding. This is only true after a threshold of understanding has been passed. Let’s call 80% that level, and 70% below that level. Watch what happens as a student progresses through 3 terms:

building a foundation math tutoring

Math death spiral


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