Singapore Math (SM) is the generic name of the math curriculum or syllabus that is created by the education ministry in Singapore for use in Singapore schools. The term Singapore Math is not used in Singapore.


Singapore’s math curriculum gained worldwide recognition when Singapore was ranked first in mathematics in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in 1995 and Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in 1999. As more and more people around the world became fascinated with the astounding success of Singapore students in mathematics, they began referring to Singapore’s math curriculum as simply Singapore Math.


Singapore Math is a pleasing balance between drill and creative problem solving. Those who have compared SM with other math curriculum report that Singapore math moves the students more quickly and rationally toward abstract concepts. SM solidly builds the Core math concepts that will best prepare students for higher math. There is an emphasis on homework and practice, and an effective mix of word problems, drills and mental calculation. The workbooks are designed to be completed by the students without adult assistance, but adult interaction will strengthen the process. This style stimulates clarity of thought, communication skill in the language of mathematics, and adaptability to problem solving. Instruction can be paced to the needs of each individual student. For most students, two to three pages from the textbooks will be sufficient for each day. Then the accompanying section from the workbook should be completed independently by the student.


The curriculum is based on a progression from concrete experience—using manipulatives—to a pictorial stage and finally to the abstract level or algorithm. This sequence gives students a solid understanding of basic mathematical concepts and relationships before they start working at the abstract level. Singapore Math includes a strong emphasis on model drawing, a visual approach to solving word problems that helps students organize information and solve problems in a step-by-step manner. Concepts are taught to mastery, then later revisited but not re-taught.