The Intended School Mathematics Curriculum

  • Ngan Hoe LeeEmail author
  • Wee Leng Ng
  • Li Gek Pearlyn Lim
Part of the Mathematics Education – An Asian Perspective book series (MATHEDUCASPER)


This chapter examines the changes to the intended Singapore School Mathematics Curriculum since 1990 to the present that resulted from reviews carried out periodically. Special features and key approaches are identified to gain better insights of the curriculum. The curriculum is also examined from the perspective of the three educational initiatives that were implemented in 1997: The Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) Initiative, the National Education (NE) Initiative, and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Initiative. A short discussion on textbooks is also included as they contain and communicate the intended School Mathematics Curriculum. The chapter concludes with an examination of the intended School Mathematics Curriculum from two levels: national versus school. This discussion is taken from the perspective of the process of curriculum development.


Singapore School Mathematics Curriculum School Mathematics Curriculum Framework Intended School Mathematics Curriculum Nation-building initiatives and School Mathematics Curriculum 21CC and mathematics education ICT in mathematics education Textbook in mathematics education Mathematics curriculum development 


  1. Ang, W. H. (2008). Singapore’s textbook experience 1965–1997: Meeting the needs of curriculum change. In S. K. Lee, C. B. Goh, B. Fredriksen, & J. P. Tan (Eds.), Toward a better future: education and training for economic development in Singapore since 1965 (pp. 69–95). Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  2. Bruner, J. S. (1960). The process of education. MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bruner, J. S. (1966). Toward a theory of instruction. MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Flavell, J. H. (1976). Metacognitive aspects of problem solving. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), The nature of intelligence (pp. 231–235). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  5. Garland, S. (2013, October 16). How does Common Core compare? [HuffPost]. Retrieved August 12, 2018, from
  6. Goldin, G., & Shteingold, N. (2001). System of representations and the development of mathematical concepts. In A. Cuoco & F. R. Curcio (Eds.), The roles of representation in school mathematics (pp. 1–23). Yearbook 2001. Reston, VA: NCTM.Google Scholar
  7. Kaur, B., & Toh, T. L. (2012). Reasoning, communication and connections in mathematics: An introduction. In B. Kaur & T. L. Toh (Eds.), Reasoning, communication and connections in mathematics (pp. 1–10). Singapore: World Scientific.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Koh, T. S., & Koh, I. Y. C. (2006). Integration of information technology in the Singapore school mathematics curriculum. The Mathematics Educator, 9(2), 1–15.Google Scholar
  9. Lee, N. H. (2008). Nation building initiative: Impact on Singapore mathematics curriculum. In M. Niss (Ed.), 10th International Congress on Mathematical Education Proceedings (CD). Copenhagen, Denmark: Roskilde University.Google Scholar
  10. Lee, N. H. (2014). The Singapore mathematics curriculum development—A mixed model approach. In Y. Li & G. Lappan (Eds.), Mathematics curriculum in school education (pp. 279–303). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lee, N. H. (2015, May). The evolution of the Singapore mathematics curriculum—Responsiveness, eclecticism, support, and rigour. Keynote Address, 2015 Joint Conference of the Korean Mathematics Education Societies on Mathematics Education, Seoul, Korea.Google Scholar
  12. Lee, N. H. (2016, July). Connectedness in Singapore mathematics curriculum. Keynote Address, The 6th Annual Singapore Math Summer Institute, New York, United States.Google Scholar
  13. Lee, N. H., & Tan, B. L. J. (2014). The role of virtual manipulatives on the concrete-pictorial-abstract approach in teaching primary mathematics. The Electronic Journal of Mathematics & Technology, 8(Special), 102–121.Google Scholar
  14. Leong, Y. H., Ho, W. K., & Cheng, L. P. (2015). Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract: Surveying its origins and charting its future. The Mathematics Educator, 16(1), 1–19.Google Scholar
  15. Lester, F. K. (1994). Musings about mathematical problem-solving research: 1970-1994. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 25(6), 660–675.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Low, K. S. (2011). Representation of the Singapore mathematics framework in Secondary textbooks. Unpublished master dissertation, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.Google Scholar
  17. Lunenburg, F. C. (2011a). Curriculum development: Deductive model. Schooling, 2(1).Google Scholar
  18. Lunenburg, F. C. (2011b). Curriculum development: inductive model. Schooling, 2(1).Google Scholar
  19. Ministry of Education. (1990a). Mathematics syllabus (Primary). Singapore: Author.Google Scholar
  20. Ministry of Education. (1990b). Mathematics syllabus (Lower Secondary). Singapore: Author.Google Scholar
  21. Ministry of Education. (2000a). Mathematics syllabus—Primary. Singapore: Author.Google Scholar
  22. Ministry of Education. (2000b). Mathematics syllabus – Lower Secondary. Singapore: Author.Google Scholar
  23. Ministry of Education. (2006a). Primary mathematics syllabus. Singapore: Author.Google Scholar
  24. Ministry of Education. (2006b). Secondary mathematics syllabus. Singapore: Author.Google Scholar
  25. Ministry of Education. (2007). The 'A' level Experience. Retrieved from .
  26. Ministry of Education. (2009). The Singapore model method for learning mathematics. Singapore: Panpac Education.Google Scholar
  27. Ministry of Education. (2012a). Primary mathematics teaching and learning syllabus. Singapore: Author.Google Scholar
  28. Ministry of Education. (2012b). Ordinary-level & normal (academic)-level mathematics teaching and learning syllabus. Singapore: Author.Google Scholar
  29. Ministry of Education. (2012c). Normal [technical])-level mathematics teaching and learning syllabus. Singapore: Author.Google Scholar
  30. Ministry of Education. (2015). Mathematics teaching and learning guide pre-university H1, H2 and H3. Singapore: Author.Google Scholar
  31. Ministry of Education (n.d.a). 21st Century Competencies. Retrieved from
  32. Ministry of Education (n.d.b). ICT in education Singapore: Our journey so far. Retrieved from
  33. Ministry of Education (n.d.c). Every school a good school. Retrieved from
  34. Moyer-Packenham, P. S., Salkind, G., & Bolyard, J. J. (2008). Virtual manipulatives used by K-8 teachers for mathematics instruction: Considering mathematical, cognitive, and pedagogical fidelity. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 8(3), 202–218.Google Scholar
  35. Ng, S.F. (2009). The Singapore primary mathematics curriculum. In P. Y. Lee, & N. H. Lee (Eds.), Teaching primary school mathematics—A resource book (pp. 15–34) (2nd ed.). Singapore: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  36. Ng, W. L., & Leong, Y. H. (2009). Use of ICT in mathematics education in Singapore. In K. Y. Wong, P. Y. Lee, B. Kaur, P. Y. Foong, & S. F. Ng (Eds.), Mathematics education—The Singapore journey (pp. 301–318). Singapore: World Scientific.Google Scholar
  37. Olivia, P. F. (2013). Developing the curriculum (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  38. Perkins, D. (1993). The connected curriculum. Educational Leadership, 51(2), 90–91.Google Scholar
  39. Schmidt, W. H., McKnight, C. C., Valverde, G. A., Houang, R. T., & Wiley, D. E. (1997). Many visions, many aims: A cross-national investigation of curricular intentions in school mathematics (Vol. 1). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Skemp, R. R. (1976). Relational understanding and instrumental understanding. Mathematics Teaching, 77, 20–26.Google Scholar
  41. Tarricone, P. (2011). The taxonomy of metacognition. East Sussex: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  42. Tyler, R. W. (1949). Basic principles of curriculum and instruction. The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  43. Wong, K. Y. (1991). Curriculum development in Singapore. In C. Marsh & P. Morris (Eds.), Curriculum development in East Asia (pp. 129–160). London: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ngan Hoe Lee
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wee Leng Ng
    • 1
  • Li Gek Pearlyn Lim
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute of EducationSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations