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1920 to 1960 MAA
1920 to 1960

The Progressive Movement - 1920s

This popular approach attempted to make mathematical education accessible and stressed the importance of teaching algebra to everyone.

The Activity Movement - 1930s

Multiplication tables were used less frequently, and an informal teaching style that focused on what students wanted to learn was introduced. It integrated different topics into math, but led to a decrease in basic mathematics skills.

The High School Entrance Examination (1942)

Although this exam is from 1942, it demonstrates the influence of the Progressive Movement. Elementary math education continued to focus on basic arithmetic. Algebra was not introduced until high school math classes. Until 1949, students were required to write an entrance exam to attend high school.​

High School Entrance Exam 1942 Mathematics                Math Exam,1942​

The Life Adjustment Movement - 1940s

Two streams were introduced: “Life” math and academic math. Students in the life stream started to learn more mathematics related to trades. Students in life math did not focus on traditional math topics like algebra or geometry which were considered academic.​

High School Entrance Reprints of Examination Papers (1947)

The 1947 exam demonstrates the introduction of life skills math. This idea was introduced in the 1940s ‘Life Adjustment Movement’ leading schools to start 2 streams: life math and academic math. Life math focused on basic life skills, such as banking and mortgages.

High School Entrance Exam 1947 Mathematics                Math Exam, 1947​

Introduction to Logic and Sets (1958)

By the mid-20th century, more research was done into the theory of math and this led to the introduction of mathematical logic. This is an example of the academic math stream, and was an optional course for senior high school students who wanted to go into mathematics.

Introduction to Logic and Sets pages 10 and 11

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