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# What does 3rd grade math look like?

My son never has math homework. As in never, not once in the last 3 years. His math teacher, who seems energetic and positive, nevertheless does not know his students after all these years. So I can't ask him how my son is doing, if he is ahead or behind, as he does not know who my son is. When I ask my son what he does in math he says he does not know, but sometimes he does mention something specific, like measuring distances, so I know he is getting something.

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I found some online math websites, which are geared to specific grades in public school. When I go to the 3rd grade tests, my son can not do some of the items. For example division. 4 hats cost 12 dollars. How much is one hat? (He can do the opposite - if a hat costs 3 dollars, how much is 4 hats?) Another example, he can not do subtraction with multiple digits if he has to carry a number over. For example he can subtract 321 from 987, but not 98 from 321. It is not because my son is slow, it is because he has never gotten these things explained to him before. He even says "we have not covered that in math yet." But as soon as I explained it, he understood, and the solved 9 of the following 10 questions correctly. So he understands, if I explain it to him, but he obviously is not getting this in school. I am worried how far behind the class is, versus what is actually normal at this grade.

Do they have a specific textbook that they use? My child's school uses a specific textbook that is very different from the same grade textbook I use with him at home

Can you check on-line for your government's standards for the grade 3 curriculum?

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Sorry, I'm not familiar with Denmark's (it is a Danish school, IIRC?) oversight for education. I don't knowÂ whether there are local and regional standards or a single country-wide standard. I know I have accessed fairly detailed curricular information from various education departments in different places where my kids have attended school.Â

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Another possibility might be to try a placement testÂ from a math curriculum with a solidÂ international repuationÂ like Singapore math. That might give you an idea of if/where there are gaps he needs to fill.Â

Another thought, this time about your DS's teacher. All of my dc'sÂ teachers haveÂ kept aÂ record for each student withÂ their marks from everyÂ test, assignment, and in-class work. It's necessary in case a report card grade is incorrect. BTW, thisÂ has happened to us when a teacher didn't enter the information properly. We were able to figure out the problem and get it corrected quickly. Often, the teacher will also keep the tests and classroom worksheets, so that the student's output can be reviewed.Â

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Even if your DS's teacher can't remember who he is, there should be a record of marks at least, and optimally, a file of his tests and work for you to review.Â

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Again, I'm at a disadvantage since I"m unfamiliar with the Danish school system. Possibly there have been no tests or in-class work and thus, no grades. If that's the case, then I don't know what to suggest.Â Â

Yes, you'll have to look at your local standards. Maybe your school district has something online with the expectations for each grade? Maybe you could sit in on a class or schedule a conference. Even if he doesn't know your child, you could at least ask about the curriculum being used, get an idea of what is being worked on.

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In our area, 3rd grade math focuses heavilyÂ on multiplication. The first part of the year though was a lot of regrouping from large addition and subtraction problems.Â Division, fractions and decimals wereÂ introduced but really, it wasn't until 4th grade when they started working heavily with remainders and parts of numbers. 4th grade was also when work problems became the norm.Â I know in 3rd my kids worked a lot with money. Other than that, I'm afraid I don't remember.

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Mine never had a ton of math homework in the early grade. A couple sheets a week and mostly just math fact practice. The math homework picked up in 4th grade.

Mine is starting long division now with remainders and just learned multiplying big numbers by small ones.

I'm in Canada, and in my province 3rd grade introduces division as the reciprocal of multiplication, but most of the work is on multiplication, certainly at this point in the year.Â

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Now, that's considerably less advanced that many of US curricula, but from what I've seen Canadian kids quickly make up for their slightly slower start by the early to mid high school level. From 5th to 8th grade the US curriculum seems to really slow down ... perhaps because so many kids have fallen through the cracks on the retention of concepts in the earlier grades, so there's lots of review and new concepts (fractions, percents, ratios, decimals, etc.) are added sooo slowly.

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Miranda

Am I right in saying that the issue is partly that he is struggling to transfer formal learning like how to divide to problem solving?Â

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I think this is actually not uncommon, though I also think it can be a problem because if you are not using and reinforcing this stuff then its much easier to lose it. But I think the solution might be quite easy. Not giving him more formal stuff, but talking about math and math problems.

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I have to say, I'm surprised that a teacher could not know a kid after three years though! I can't quite work out how that would happen.

I'm in the US and my DS is in 3rd grade (8 and 9-year-olds.) He had about two weeks of simple multiplication at the end of second grade and so far this year, they have been working on perimeter and rounding to the nearest 10 and 100. He would be able to do your hat example with manipulatives or by drawing circles.
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Originally Posted by moominmammaÂ
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I'm in Canada, and in my province 3rd grade introduces division as the reciprocal of multiplication, but most of the work is on multiplication, certainly at this point in the year.Â

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Now, that's considerably less advanced that many of US curricula, but from what I've seen Canadian kids quickly make up for their slightly slower start by the early to mid high school level. From 5th to 8th grade the US curriculum seems to really slow down ... perhaps because so many kids have fallen through the cracks on the retention of concepts in the earlier grades, so there's lots of review and new concepts (fractions, percents, ratios, decimals, etc.) are added sooo slowly.

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Miranda

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I agree. I often find it interesting that the math curriculum is accelerated in elementary but come high school, most kids are graduating at the same levels they did 20 years ago. Even the SAT still caps at Algebra II and the ACT doesn't test on much past that.Â

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I don't see the point of the general public being pushed to algebra early.Â Even highly talented mathÂ kids can hit that level before they are developmentally ready for it even if they've easily mastered all the work prior to it. Our area middle schoolsÂ dealÂ with this by having an "advanced algebra" class required for kids who take algebra in 7th grade. They found it greatly improves the long term success of their students.

We are in the us and simple multiplication to twelve isn't introduced until February of.third grade then division comes several weeks after. What part of third grade were the tests designed for? Many are end of year tests so wouldn't be useful yet. Can you call the teacher and ask what they are learning so you can reinforce learning at home or ask about his recorded grades?

Thanks for all the info. At least now I can see that his class is as far behind as I thought. The online math workÂ I was comparing to are the danish public school's online resources, so they should be accurate. It does drive me crazy he gets no homework. And there are no tests here, so you have no idea how you kid is doing. As in literally, no tests, ever. NotÂ even at one the end of the year to see if you can go to the next grade. Everyone moves to the next grade by default. There is one danish test, in maybe grade 3 or 5, and one math test, in maybe grade 5 or 7. But these are basically because the government has to do them in order to get some kind of assessment of how the students are doing. There are no real tests until after grade 9, when they move to gymnasium - sort of equivalent to high school.Â

I suggest looking up your country's overall education rating before worrying too much. Denmark is listed as twelfth highest and the us is pretty far behind so our system of tests and homework isn't something that necessarily creates success.
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