Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Dr. George G. Mallinson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Chapter I

The Problem and Its Background

The Place of Arithmetic in Modern Education

The subject of arithmetic is as old as human history itself and yet it holds a very important place in modern education. In order to have a clear understanding of its present position it is desirable that a brief history of arithmetic be given. Since the history of arithmetic is long and since much has been written concerning it, an attempt will be made here to cover only the main thread in its development.

The Babylonians, according to records, made the first use of arithmetic. Karpinski1 says that "parts of an old Babylonian multiplication table have been found and hundreds of tablets going back as far as 3000 B.C. and 3500 B.C. which contain numerals." The Babylonians were not alone in the early use of arithmetic however, for Hooper2 states that, "The oldest known mathematical book in the world was written on papyrus by an Egyptian soribe named Ahmes, more than thirty-five centuries ago." These two examples are sufficient to indicate that arithmetic had an important part in the education of ancient times, especially since they were recorded in stone and written on papyrus.


From 1939 to the early 1950's, Western offered graduate courses in Kalamazoo in conjunction with the University of Michigan. All degrees were awarded by the University of Michigan.