Richard Rusczyk is the founder of the Art of Problem Solving (Ao PS), a math curriculum and online learning community that supports students who excel in math.
In the early 1990s, Richard started Ao PS as a book series; it has grown into a 300,000-member online community with classes, video lessons, and an adaptive learning system.
While most students in our earliest classes are 10 or 11, we have some as young as 7 or 8.
That age will get younger this summer when we launch Beast Academy Online, our online learning system for elementary school. Most of our students have high interest and ability in math.
Can what students are doing on your platform help them in their math courses?
RR: While we reviewed various standards, we didn’t adhere precisely to any of them.
At the very high end of the ability scale, the six members of the US team that won the 2015 International Math Olympiad — for the first time in over two decades — collectively enrolled in over 40 Ao PS classes.
We don’t collect data on income or race, but anecdotally speaking, many of our students have parents in math- or science-related fields, and probably most are in the top half of the income distribution.
The standards, like most of our K-12 education system, by necessity must target mathematical literacy, not mastery — they ensure that students reach a certain baseline level of understanding.
Ao PS’ target is different, it’s that of universities: the mastery required to be a STEM professional.