Singapore primary maths and Australian Curriculum overview

Singapore primary maths and Australian Curriculum overview

Singapore maths and the Australian Curriculum (AC) are not exactly aligned. In our individual  comparisons of Singapore maths with the AC we cover the specifics for each level. But to get you started we thought it would be helpful to give a summary of how they compare overall.

The Australian Curriculum maths syllabus follows three main streams:

Number and Algebra
Measurement and Geometry
Statistics and Probability

Singapore maths is thorough in its coverage of statistics with data collection, representation (bar, line and pie graphs, and tables) and interpretation. However, probability is glaringly missing until Year 8. Other more basic, and clearly considered more important, areas are covered more rigorously.

This lack in not covering probability until later is not a huge concern. More time spent getting a good grounding in the foundational concepts of mathematics: the four operations, fractions and decimals, is more important than your child spending time every year studying chance outcomes. Strength in the basics makes other concepts that much easier to learn.

It is well known that Singapore has consistently topped the world rankings in mathematics and coming in at the top or second in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

This ACARA article comparing Singapore maths with the Australian mathematics curriculum, states that “there is a considerable level of alignment between the Australian curriculum in mathematics and that of Singapore and other high-performing countries”.

It is interesting to note that this “considerable alignment” is not consistent with the considerable difference in mathematics performance and outcomes between Singapore and Australia.

Suffice to say that the amount of alignment that does exist is enough to make Singapore maths a good choice for Australian homeschool families and educators. However, there is enough difference between the two curriculums to make Singapore maths a better choice for producing maths strength and proficiency – and who doesn’t want that for their child? It’s a no-brainer.

The article compares Singapore maths with Australian curriculum observing these differences:

“The Singapore syllabus provides comprehensive detail about what should be taught and … specifies how teaching should occur.”

“In contrast, the Australian curriculum provides content achievement standards and allows teachers to be the ones to decide how the content will be taught.”

In other words, Australian schools give discretion to the teachers on how to teach maths. So you better hope that you get a good maths teacher. Whereas, Singapore has a strict method which is followed in a consistent manner by all Singapore teachers. Singapore also uses specialist maths teachers beginning at grade 2. 

If you are using Singapore maths for your homeschool maths curriculum, you have a golden opportunity to use both of those elements to your child’s advantage: your own discretion as someone who knows your child and monitors their learning closely, and a solid maths program that keeps you on track.

Here are a few ways that Singapore maths advances ahead of the AC:

By Level 2, Singapore maths has advanced beyond the AC with the addition and subtraction of fractions.

By Level 3, Singapore maths advances beyond the AC in multiplication and division facts 6-9 (2, 3, 5 and 10 are taught in Level 2); addition and subtraction of money; equivalent fractions; and geometry concepts.

Level 4 Singapore maths advances further than the AC regarding fractions.

The upper levels of Singapore maths are where the differences begin to really show, with fractions, decimals, division, geometry all ahead of the AC in Level 5.

By the end of Singapore primary maths, Level 6, concepts of algebra, statistics, fractions and decimals are all beyond the AC requirements.

Having said all that, the Cartesian coordinate system and negative numbers are not covered in Singapore maths until Year 7.

Generally, Singapore maths places more emphasis on hands-on learning with the use of manipulatives and keeps digital technologies to a minimum. The AC places more emphasis on the use of digital technologies.

For more tips for teaching maths, read 10 tips to help your child learn maths.

If you want to know more about homeschool planning, go here.

Want to learn more about Singapore maths? Check out our Singapore Maths Hub.

For schools interested in Singapore maths, visit our Singapore Maths for Schools page.

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Education Reformation

Singapore maths and homeschool curriculum