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Singapore Math

Singapore Math is the collection of math syllabi which were initially developed the Ministry of Education in Singapore as well as private publishers of textbooks to be used in the schools in Singapore. The math syllabi were developed under a national framework which focuses on problem solving, computational skills, and strategic and conceptual thinking processes. Singapore math textbooks, particularly those meant for the earlier grades, try to provide in-depth knowledge on a few topics. Singapore Math textbooks make use of illustrations in order to show the students how to solve multi-step problems.

Story of Singapore Math
Singapore Math, as used in Canada and the US, denotes the Primary Mathematics series. The Primary Mathematics series was published for the first time in the year 1982. The Primary Mathematics was written by members belonging to a project team who were put together by Singapore’s Ministry of Education. Have a look at the changes that have taken place in Singapore Math curriculum over the years.

  • Year 1981:
    The Primary Mathematics syllabus was developed for the first time in the year 1981 by Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore (CDI), presently known as Curriculum Planning & Development Institute of Singapore (CPDD). The syllabus developed in 1981 laid more emphasis on content and not much on problem solving.

  • Year 1992:
    The Singapore Math curriculum which was developed in the year 1981 was revised in the year 1992 to make it a more problem solving oriented curriculum. The Primary Mathematics (Second Edition) was based on the revised 1992 Singapore Math curriculum. The Primary Mathematics (Second Edition) was published for Primary 1 in the year 1991, for Primary 2, Primary 3 and Primary 4 in the year 1992, and for Primary 5 and 6 in the year 1995.

  • Year 1994:
    Since the year 1992, no significant changes have taken place in the curriculum. However, the contents were further reduced in the year 1994. The Primary Mathematics (Third Edition) for Primary 1 as well as Primary 2 was developed on the basis of the 1994 reduced curriculum.
  • Year 1999
    In the year 1999, it was decided by the Ministry of Education in Singapore to bring down the content so as to provide space for the teachers to undertake new initiatives like inculcate thinking skills, incorporating the usage of Information Technology in lessons, and delivery of National Education messages.
    The Primary Education (Third Education) for Primary 3 and Primary 5 were published in the year 1999, and for Primary 4 and Primary 6 in the year 2000. One of the main chapters which have been removed from Primary Mathematics (Second Edition) was “Division of Fractions.” 

  • Year 2001
    The second phase of 1999 content reduction work was implemented from 2001. This stage featured changes in teaching techniques, modes of assessment, and learning approaches. The three initiatives which were introduced for the first time include:
    • National Education for developing citizenship values and skills in the context of Singapore
    • Information Technology (IT) for the purpose of bringing software as well as hardware technologies in schools; however, the IT content is available only in the teacher's CD ROMs.
    • Critical and Creative Thinking in order to inculcate thinking skills

  • Since 2005
    The textbooks which were published in the year 2001 were revised in 2007. Changes that have been incorporated in 2007 for the textbooks include reduction of mental math, use of calculators in Level 5 and exclusion of operations on compound units in measurement. 

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