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Is it better to teach pure math instead of applied math?

Abstract, pure math — solving disembodied equations filled with x’s and y’s —  can often seem boring. Creative math teachers commonly try to come up with concrete, real-world examples to motivate students and make math relevant to adolescents.

But a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) finds that applied-math instruction, or the way it is actually taught in classrooms, may not be serving students well. Furthermore, it found that teachers were often using a watered-down, applied-math approach in classrooms of low-income students, while giving higher income students much more exposure to pure math.

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