Translating Productive Failure in the Singapore A-level Statistics Curriculum

Project Number
DEV 03/14 MK

Project Duration
July 2014 - December 2017


Productive Failure (PF) is a learning design that engages students in generating solutions to novel problems first before teaching them the concept. While students typically fail in their problem-solving efforts, their sub-optimal solutions can be a productive resource in preparing them to learn better from subsequent instruction. Since 2007, we have worked with 14 schools and close to 100 teachers and 6000 students in Singapore to establish a strong proof-of-concept for PF. Our results consistently show that students in the PF condition outperform their Direct Instruction (DI) counterparts on conceptual understanding and transfer, without compromising performance on procedural fluency. Given PF's positive learning outcomes, the Ministry of Education's (MOE's) Curriculum Planning and Development Division's (CPDD's) Mathematics Unit has agreed to leverage its existing processes and structures to work with us to translate the learning design across key concepts in the Singapore A-level Statistics curriculum in close collaboration with the Junior Colleges (JCs). Such a translational effort will help JC students experience deeper learning of statistical concepts.

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