Saxon Math Teaching Method

Saxon math, developed by John Saxon, is a teaching method for incremental learning of mathematics. It involves teaching a new mathematical concept every day and constant review of old concepts. Each day is divided into segments, which include mental math, problem solving, introducing the new concept, and problem sets. The problem sets focus on all previously learned material in addition to the new material; this allows for constant review.

Standards-based texts such as Dale Seymour's Investigations which might devote an entire booklet leading up to, but not teaching how to add up the data items and divide by the total number. By contrast, the Saxon math book simply devotes one page to how to compute the average, or how to add, subtract, multiply or divide fractions by traditional methods. Saxon teaches methods and terminology familiar to parents and mathematics professionals, unlike many reform texts which reject traditional terminology or methods such as long division.

The Saxon method is popular with home schoolers, and has also been adopted as an alternative to standards-based mathematics programs. These programs which follow the NCTM standards have been met with controversy in many communities, with many of the issues presented by Mathematically Correct.

Not everybody is a fan. Some say that Saxon Math is too repetitive, and it has too many large numbers. It takes its time to get into new concepts. Although it practices some concepts, it never goes back to others. Some teachers complain that the method is overly-rigid, lacks creativity for both teachers and students, and reduces mathematics to strictly simplistic rote procedures.

New Adoption
Tacoma, WA 2006. School board member Debbie Winskill stated that despite a lengthy selection process and considerable training IMP "has been a dismal failure.” Mount Tahoma High School teacher Clifford Harris taught sophomores Saxon Math, and their Washington Assessment of Student Learning have continually climbed. The program gives students plenty of chances to review material so they retain their skills, he said. That’s not the case with IMP, he said in an interview.