Miller Educational Excellence is widely known and well respected for its highly effective approach to developing mathematical skills. Dr. Miller’s programs are uniquely successful because her methodology is highly effective in developing connections among the three essential elements of mathematical proficiency: “street math” knowledge, conceptual understanding, and procedural skill.
Street math is the background knowledge a student develops from participating in the world. For example, students begin to understand fractions by splitting a cookie in half with a friend. From the knowledge that two groups of toys can be put together to form one new, larger group of toys, a student develops the understanding that allows them to comprehend equations such as 2 + 3 = 5.
As students grow and develop, their mathematical understandings increase in sophistication. When these understandings are nurtured and developed, students can comprehend algebra and advanced mathematical topics such as geometry, trigonometry and calculus.
Dr. Miller’s approach uses concrete objects, clever stories and analogies, and step-by-step, thorough explanations. She makes students aware of the background knowledge they possess that gives meaning to the mathematical concepts they are learning. By skillfully using the right manipulative for the concept and procedure to be learned, she systematically guides students in understanding the steps involved in complicated processes. As students use these manipulatives, they are shown how to write down the steps “in math language.” This insures a strong connection between the meaning of the concept and the procedure used for calculation. When students understand procedures, they “get” mathematics and their grades increase.
Her programs are “holistic” because they empower a student to appreciate the value of mathematics, to believe in their ability to learn and achieve in mathematics, and to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in mathematics courses.