The Teaching of Arithmetic II: The Story of an Experiment

L. P. Benezet
Superintendent of Schools, Manchester, New Hampshire

Originally published in the Journal of the National Education Association Volume 24, Number 9, December 1935, pp. 301-303

[This is the second instalment of an article describing an experiment which has been carried out in Manchester, New Hampshire, since 1929. In the preceding section, which appeared in the November Journal, Mr. Benezet explained that: In some schools of Manchester, the only arithmetic in the first six grades was practise in estimating heights, areas, and the like; formal arithmetic was not introduced until the seventh grade. In tests given to both the traditionally and experimentally taught groups, it was found that the latter had been able in one year to attain the level of accomplishment which the traditionally taught children had reached after three and one-half years of arithmetic drill. In addition, because the teachers in the experimental group had had time to concentrate on teaching the children to "read, reason, and recite," these children developed more interest in reading, a better vocabulary, and greater fluency in expression.]

In the fall of 1933 I felt that I was now ready to make the big plunge. I knew that I could defend my position by evidence that would satisfy any reasonable person. Accordingly, a committee of our principals drew up a new course of study in arithmetic. I would have liked to go the whole route and drop out all the arithmetic until we reached the seventh grade, for we had proved, in the case of four rooms, that this could be done without loss, but the principals were more cautious than I was and I realized, too, that I would now have to deal with the deeply rooted prejudices of the educated portion of our citizens. Therefore, a compromise was reached. Accordingly, on September 1, 1933, we handed out the following course of study in arithmetic:

Part I | Part III
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