How was this success achieved? Might I suggest that it was possible because our teachers gave pupils an understanding of what numbers really are, rather than teaching them arbitrary mental algorithms for shuffling numbers around?
Why then, given this good grounding, do we appear to perform less well at all? That depends on a number of factors, but in the end it all depends on what you choose to measure. Hoop-jumping is easily quantifiable but true understanding is not.
ALAN HARPER Chenderit Secondary School Banbury, Oxfordshire