More Philadelphia-Area Schools Turning to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Math in Focus to Introduce Singapore Math Methods

PHILADELPHIA - It has worked for millions of students around the world, and now Singapore math has come to the Philadelphia area. Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced the adoption of Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish in ten schools in the Philadelphia area: The Episcopal Academy, the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology and the Neshaminy School District’s eight elementary schools. These schools represent the wide range of learners that can benefit from the unique approach of Singapore math.

The Math in Focus program is the U.S. Edition of Singapore’s most widely used program, My Pals Are Here! Maths.  Both programs are published by Marshall Cavendish-Singapore with Math in Focus availability exclusively in the US through HMH. The proven K-6 math curriculum has been tailored to the unique needs of American students. By focusing on fewer topics and using a concrete-to-symbolic-to-visual approach, Math in Focus gives learners a more comprehensive understanding of critical math topics that align with the Common Core State Standards. In a recent study, test scores of Math in Focus students improved by an average of 12.4 points from year to year, more than three times the average improvement that occurred across the remaining students in the comparison group. The results serve as evidence that the program works in the U.S., as local students are also benefitting from the internationally acclaimed program.

“The initial attraction to Singapore Math was what it was not. No more mile wide, inch deep. No more learning algorithms without understanding the concepts. No more moving on from topic to topic without giving students the tools to reach mastery,” said Shelley Rosen, K-5 Specialist at Neshaminy School District. “Math in Focus provides our teachers with a program that teaches number sense, which was sorely missing in our previous texts.  Our teachers love the simplicity of the student texts and workbooks. We appreciate that problem solving is central to the program. Neshaminy teachers are excited to work with this new program.”

HMH introduced Math in Focus in the US in 2009. Owing to its proven ability to raise achievement, the program has since been adopted in all 50 states in both public and private schools. Numerous other schools throughout Pennsylvania are currently piloting Math in Focus or considering it for their upcoming math program selection. The success has been attributed to Math in Focus’s unique pictorial approach, allowing students to look at problems in a visual way before they move to the abstract. Also distinctive is its consistent focus on problem solving, with specific problem-solving strategies taught in a carefully sequenced manner, and extensive use of word problems as a way to train students to connect different mathematical ideas.

“We’re excited Math in Focus has been chosen by these exceptional schools in the Philadelphia area,” said Scott Bowker, General Manager of Specialized Curriculum for HMH. “The program teaches mastery, developing students into mathematicians, and not just test-takers. As Math in Focus is welcomed into more schools, we move closer to our nationwide goal of achieving math excellence.”

Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish Courses 2 and 3 for seventh and eighth grade are currently in production for availability in 2012.

For more information on Math in Focus, please visit

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
With education products and services used by 57 million students throughout all 50 U.S. states and 120 countries, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a global education and learning company. The world’s largest provider of materials for pre-K–12 learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is leading the way with innovative solutions and approaches to the challenges facing education today. Through curricula excellence coupled with technology innovations and professional services, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt collaborates with school districts, administrators, teachers, parents and students, providing interactive, results-driven learning solutions. Its Educational Consulting Services group works to increase student achievement in underperforming schools by developing, implementing and supporting education transformation through sustained district partnerships.  With origins dating back to 1832, the Company also publishes an extensive line of reference works and award-winning literature for adults and young readers. For more information, visit