In this post, we look at the third “R” of education: ‘Rithmetic. In our next post, we’ll include a discussion of science and logic at Trinitas to complete the picture of how our classical school measures up in the area of STEM. At the outset, we should be honest that classical schools may often be thought of as great books programs or humanities schools. From the time of its founding in 2006, however, Trinitas was committed to providing our students an excellent education in the sciences. Not content to simply adopt the curricula many classical schools were already using, we were somewhat “cutting edge” for classical, and even non-classical, schools.* We think our math and science programs map nicely onto the grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages of the Trivium.
When choosing a math curriculum, it seemed to make some sense to find out what the best students in the world are using. Math students in Singapore are consistently at the top of The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). These students use the Primary Mathematics Series (otherwise known as Singapore Math). Lest we commit a logical fallacy, we won’t assume that simply using the same curriculum will produce the same results (there are very likely multiple factors at work), but it is probably fair to be optimistic about the possibilities. When we examined Singapore math pilot studies in the US, we found that students were, on average, a grade ahead of their peers. And, they liked math more. We’ve found this to be true of our math students as well over the last fifteen years—they are typically advanced in math, do very well on standardized tests, and go on to honors and AP math tracks in high school. And, importantly, a large percentage enjoy the subject.