A Walk towards Proficiency

            How does school mathematics need to change for all students to become mathematically proficient?


          Mathematics doesn’t need to change, the way it is being taught should.

          You failed to attain your goal? You don’t need to always change the goal, but the methods used to achieve it. Same is true with mathematics, being mathematically proficient is your objective. If the objective isn’t reached, altering the subject’s content won’t always be the solution. The way on realizing the objective might be the best.

          Every one of us is capable of being a mathematically proficient person. As what the article Every Child Mathematically Proficient: An Action Plan of the Learning First Alliance says, every child is mathematically proficient, we just need to cultivate and ensure their skill to become effective in learning mathematics. Basically, the challenge here is that where can we begin to change?  What are the actions we must take to ensure that all students achieve mathematically proficient?

Instruction, instructional materials, assessments, teacher education and professional development, and the broader educational system are the five areas that address by the Helping Children Learn Mathematics (2002) that needed to change and also says that these five areas  must work together to guarantee that all students become engaged with mathematics throughout their elementary and middle school years.

          Too many people, school mathematics is virtually a phenomenon of nature. It seems timeless, set in stone –hard to change and perhaps not needing to change. But the school mathematics education of yesterday, which had a practical basis, is no longer viable (The National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine). So, these following sections are organized to address the area that is needed change.


Stay Connected. Most likely mathematics classroom are solving and working individually in their chair and that scenario needed to change. It is just a matter of communication; students can have the opportunity to develop and integrate all the five strands of mathematical proficiency by making the classroom as a circle of learners rather than subdivided into individuals. Building a friendly discussion inside the class that encouraged students to participate and be part of the whole to engender and share solution methods. If a student fails, mistakes are sites of learning for everyone and that mistake will become opportunity for students’ reasoning skill and analysis. Peer mathematics can raise achievement between groups of students. It is essential to work together and learn from each other. It is just a matter of mindset were students are able to become successful in mathematics.


Define Teaching. Being able to teach effectively in a wide variety of students with different learning styles is important, first thing to do is to study what and to whom you are teaching because according to Ma (1999) cited by Kilpatrick & Swafford (2017), if you can interweave the two things together nicely, you will succeed. If students are to develop mathematical proficiency, teachers also must have a clear vision of the goals of instruction and what proficiency means for the specific mathematical content they are teaching (Adding it Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics, 2001). As a future mathematics teacher, we need to know how to become an effective and efficient teacher. Like other professionals, teacher also needs to acquire knowledge by having a professional development so that they can improve their techniques of teaching mathematics and well prepared in the content they are teaching. Attending trainings and workshops can help teachers extend opportunities to learn, to observe on how to teach mathematics. Teach students with understanding not just for remembering.

Encourage Innovation.  With the help of the up to date technology, we can able to access knowledge and information as we go through learning mathematics. Advance technology can enrich the opportunity to go deeper in learning between student and teacher. Much mathematics software like Geogebra, Algebrator and Malmath that can be used in teaching and learning mathematics, we just need to explore it and dig deeper.


Use it and Be Part of it. According to National Academy of Sciences (2017), teaching for proficiency requires thoughtful planning, careful execution and continual improvement of instruction. Thus, instruction materials need to support each other to develop mathematical proficiency. Different methods and strategies can be used in teaching mathematics in a way that students can easily absorb the knowledge you are teaching. Manipulatives and the method of your teaching based on what concept you are teaching can make connection that make students initiate thoughts, ideas, problems and link between concepts they have learned.

               To meet the challenge of K-12 Curriculum, Philippine Normal University embarks Outcomes Based Teacher Education Curriculum (OBTEC). Being one of the students under OBTEC, we are engaged behaviorally and cognitively in mathematics as well as motivated and learning meaningfully in the mathematics class.

          Also, engage parents in the learning of their child. Parents and the teacher must have collaboration to provide the needs of the students. Likewise, make mathematics concept relevant because information is long lasting when it relates to day-to-day living and that topic in mathematics must be apply in real life examples. They need to understand also the process on how to solve the problem so that when they are the one doing the task they have the confident to answer it and also appreciate the essence of what they are learning. Mathematics, bring it to life.



Lungub, Stephanie Joy

Domingo, Roselle

Pascual, Sharon

Guillermo, Nemuel

Valdez, Mary Ann

Trinidad, Abigail




Every Child Mathematically Proficient. (1998, November). Retrieved June 28, 2017, from An Action Plan of the Learning First Alliance:https://learningfirst.org/sites/ learningfirst/files/Every%20Child%20Mathematically%20Proficient%20v2.pdf

Kilpatrick, J., & Swafford, J. (2017). Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics (2001); 10 Developing Proficiency in Teaching Mathematics. Retrieved June 28,2017, from National Academy of Sciences: https://www.nap.edu/read/9822/chapter/12

Kilpatrick, J., & Swafford, J. (2017). Helping Children Learn Mathematics (2002): How does school mathematics need to change for all students to become mathematically proficient?Retrieved June 28, 2017, from National Academy of Sciences: https:www.nap.edu/read/10434/chapter/5