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Math Woes: does math really matter?

Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro

Opinions Editor

Every job utilizes math to some extent. It is the very core of STEM fields and of many careers, such as nursing, science, teaching and accounting. Math can also be found in the unlikeliest of places, such as in the structure of a street or even the corner bakery. Whether we like it or not, math is everywhere.

There are many different branches of math, such as algebra, geometry and calculus just to name a few. General math is a very important skill instilled in us from the time we begin to learn our numbers. It is a subject that, like all other school subjects, students will either excel in or do not perform well.

Data from the 2021 SAT math composition scores were derived from the College Board to determine a state ranking system in which students’ math grades determined ranking.

The benchmark SAT score for mathematics is 530. Minnisota ranked number one, with an SAT average score of 636, followed by North Dakota and Kansas with scores of 628 and 623, respectively. Florida ranked in the last with an average score of 480. Florida is preceded by Idaho and Delaware with scores of 483 and 485, respectively.

Rhode Island ranks 38th, with an average score of 497.

So, what does this mean? For one, it shows that there are gaps in learning. However, this is not due to any one specific reason. The reasons vary,and vary even more from state to state: race, poverty levels, access to schooling, ability to attend school, unaddressed learning disabilities, improper IEPs, general retention issues, etc.

Data from Rhode Island PSAT and SAT scores in 2019 show similar numbers, and even then, high school administrators were concerned that not enough students are graduating ready to take on college and/or careers.

The Rhode Island Department of Education has tried to intervene in the past, electing to count “post-secondary success” towards education goals. While this great intervention gives credits to credits earned beyond high school, it is not enough to close the mathematical educational gaps. The Department of Education, as well as individual schools, school administration, and teachers can find ways to make learning more fun, help students retain information, and do everything possible to not only close the gaps, but to promote motivation and hope for a better future.

If you are having trouble with math, or any other subject, please reach out to your professor, a fellow classmate, or the tutoring center online at or by phone 401-456-8083.


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