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Mathnasium: One Solution to “U.S. Teens Are Among Worst At Math”

November 4, 2011

Here’s what I like to think: my kids will be in high school, take the SAT’s (those looovely tests), and do well enough on both the verbal and math components to have a choice selection of colleges to attend.  Until recently, I didn’t realize that I may be dead wrong.  Results from Education Next’s study show that U.S. students rank 32nd among industrialized nations in proficiency in math and 17th in reading. And, how about Tuesday’s report on NY1 that “New York State was actually the only state in the country that showed a decline in fourth grade math performance,”?  This is, as the Wall Street Journal headlined, an “Economic Time Bomb: U.S. Teens Are Among Worst At Math”

What is there to do?
Take matters into your own hands! Asses how your child is doing in math first and, if needed, start them on a course for success.

First, find out your kid’s math proficiency if you don’t know.
A  recently opened learning center, Mathnasium on Atlantic Ave, can do that for you.  They will assess your child’s math abilities for free. With that, they can determine if your child is performing at grade level and if there are gaps in their education.

Second, if there are gaps, (and don’t flip out if there are), you can change that with outside math instruction and with practicing at home.
I spoke to the owner of the new Mathnasium to find out precisely when parents should start thinking about getting a math assessment and how Mathnasium aids students that need help.  Carl Giordana is a former Wall Streeter, who, looking for a life change, quit the finance world after 14 years. He was looking for something he believed in.  After reading about the dire straits of U.S. education, he began researching learning centers. He found his perfect match in Mathnasium, a program developed by a teacher and educational consultant 35 years ago in L.A.

When to go?
Carl said that the gaps in math education are “now being identified as early as elementary school.” Obviously, the earlier that you isolate the gaps and address them, the better.

Interior of new Mathnasium

What they do:
If you stop by Mathnasium, you will notice a quiet and clean space occupied by students engaging with instructors. The students work from their colorful binders that contain customized programs following the Mathnasium Method- which uses a combination of mental, verbal, visual, tactile and written techniques to help kids learn math.  The customized program is for students in elementary through high school who preferably attend twice a week for an hour each.  It’s like a gym, (hence the name), not only for its mental workout but even in it’s billing method. Members pay a monthly fee of $299 per month for eight hours of instruction. They offer Saturday hours too which is a huge advantage for a lot of families.

What are their results?
To prove that their teaching is effective, Carl pointed me to Mathnasium’s published results, done by a third party educational consulting firm. A summary of which is (after a lot of tech reading!): “The improvement in mean scores between pre and post-tests across all grades analyzed ranges from 22.2 to 38%.” That’s a number worth betting on. Just think: that 520 score I got on my SAT math (yes, I still remember that number) could have been 732  if I had had their assistance.

In the end, it makes me wonder if I could use some math instruction even now? All those years ahead with math homework make me cringe: maybe I skip a workout at the gym and head to the math gym instead?


392 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Custom binders for each kid

Students working after school

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.