Researchers at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, the Niilo Mäki Institute and the University of Jyväskylä, both in Finland, published new findings in the Oct. 22, 2013, edition of the journal Child Development that indicates the United State STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program is targeting the wrong things in children to prepare them for college work in STEM related courses.
Children with stronger early spatial skills and knowledge of written letters did better in counting sequences of numbers in the research trail that involved 1,880 Finnish children in kindergarten. Spatial skills and knowledge of written letters were found to be more highly correlated with math ability than oral language skills. STEM programs in the United States emphasize oral language skills.
The children involved in the research were followed from the first grade to the third grade and tested for math, reading, and oral communication competence. The children that had better written language skills were not only better at math but progressed more rapidly in mathematical studies.
People in the United States have been found to have some of the poorest written language skills in the world and the STEM program in the United States appears to be planning to fail in math because it does not emphasize the written word.