With "Fraction Nation™," Students Conquer Common Math Stumbling Block

New Technology Program from Scholastic, the Creator of READ 180®,
Gives Students Keys to Unlock Algebra

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 1, 2010) – It’s the first move into abstract thinking, the first time we ask kids to work in the space between whole numbers like 1, 2, and 3. It’s when math gets hard.

Yes, it’s fractions. And teachers, researchers and academics agree on how important it is that kids master them. In its comprehensive report on the state of math education in America, the National Math Panel said understanding fractions is “the most important foundational skill not developed among American students,” and is key to learning Algebra.

Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children’s publishing, education and media company, has introduced a solution. Fraction Nation™ is designed to help students build a strong foundation for understanding the concept of fractions, build fluency, and deliver targeted, individualized help – all in 15-minute practice sessions, 3-to-5 times a week. Developed by Tom Snyder Productions, a leading publisher of educational software and a Scholastic company, Fraction Nation makes kids fraction-fluent and algebra-ready in 64 lessons.

Research shows that fraction fluency leads to success in algebra, and algebra understanding predicts college and workplace readiness. According to the Common Core Standards, fractions are "an integral part of any application of mathematics, and has connections to solving problems using data, equations, functions and models.” There’s no escaping fractions in algebra, as fractions skills are used in tasks from simplifying algebraic expressions to solving proportion problems. Most states now require two years of Algebra and nearly half of all students fail the first time they take Algebra I.

Beyond academic success, the successful completion of algebra is a predictor of future employment. Five in six young people in the top quarter of high-paying jobs have completed Algebra II, according to a report by the Educational Testing Service.

“Math gets a whole lot harder for students when fractions and decimals come into the picture in 4th and 5th grade,” said David Dockterman, Chief Math Officer at Scholastic. “The research-based teaching techniques and lessons in Fraction Nation extend the students' familiar number system to the space between the wholes, naturally building the solid understanding and fluency students need.”

Grounded on four research-based teaching principles, Fraction Nation:

  • Uses visual models and representations to help students build an understanding of the more abstract number system of fractions and decimals;
  • Links those models to the way numbers look in fractions and decimals, as well as how to compute those numbers;
  • Delivers cognitive support to students through adaptive technology and small, manageable chunks of information; and
  • Provides lessons and practice to ensure students’ mastery of concepts and skills.

Fraction Nation is organized around 9 topics and 64 lessons -- providing the lesson structure and tools teachers need to help students build fraction fluency.

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Contact: Tyler Reed, Scholastic, 212.343.6427 / treed@scholastic.com