kitchen table math, the sequel: Reasoning Mind

Friday, May 6, 2011

Reasoning Mind

Are any of you familiar with Reasoning Mind?
The Compton students are using Reasoning Mind, an online-based math program modeled on a Russian math curriculum and developed by a nonprofit organization of the same name. The program is currently used at 165 public, charter, magnet, and private schools around the country by more than 20,500 students. Most of the schools and districts using the program, like the 26,000-student Compton district, have high percentages of minority and economically disadvantaged students, and are in communities whose schools qualify for federal Title I funding.

In the Compton schools alone, 1,170 students use Reasoning Mind in the district’s, or ASES. Because of state curriculum requirements, Compton students can use the program only in an after-school setting, not in their day classes as preferred by Reasoning Mind. But even in this environment, where daily attendance can be variable and retention uneven, the Compton students have seen notable results in improved math scores and general math proficiency the past 2½ years.


The program is the brainchild of Alex Khachatryan, a Russian mathematician and scientist who created Reasoning Mind in 2002 after finding his son’s math education disappointing when the family immigrated to the United States. With the help of others, Khachatryan adapted a pencil-and-paper Russian math curriculum into an interactive Web-based program for American students. The program, which starts introducing some algebra and geometry concepts as early as 2nd grade, is designed to teach students in ways that the best teachers teach: adjusting content based on how students respond to the material in real time, and building on knowledge from the previous year’s studies.

“To really learn math, it’s not enough to solve simple, routine problems,” Khachatryan says.

“The reason why Reasoning Mind works so well,” he adds, “is that it brings together several important things: nonstandard problems to develop thinking skills, lots of interaction between students, individual attention from the teacher, and a solid, coherent curriculum.”

Web-Based Russian Math Curriculum Shows Positive Results
By Nora Fleming
Published Online: March 14, 2011
Published in Print: March 17, 2011, as Tailoring Mathematics for Young Minds
Education Week

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