U.S. students in fourth and eighth grades perform well in math, compared with their international counterparts, according to recent studies. Yet, data show a sharp decline among U.S. students when they enter high school. A shift in emphasis from getting answers correct in early grades to directly applying math concepts in high school may contribute to the drop, Steven G. Feifer, professor and research scientist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., told attendees during a recent conference. He suggested educators use varied strategies in math, including verbal and visual-spatial instruction to help deepen math learning.

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