Mathematical Proficiency for All Students: Toward a Strategic Research and Development Program in Mathematics Education

Mathematical Proficiency for All Students: Toward a Strategic Research and Development Program in Mathematics Education

RAND Mathematics Study Panel
Deborah Loewenberg Ball
Copyright Date: 2003
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 122
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1643oeri
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  • Book Info
    Mathematical Proficiency for All Students: Toward a Strategic Research and Development Program in Mathematics Education
    Book Description:

    A clear need exists for substantial improvement in mathematics proficiency in U.S. schools. The RAND Mathematics Study Panel was convened to inform the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement on ways to improve the quality and usability of education research and development (R&D). The panel identified three areas for focused R&D: development of teachers' mathematical knowledge used in teaching; teaching and learning of skills needed for mathematical thinking and problem-solving; and teaching and learning of algebra from kindergarten through the 12th grade.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3411-3
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. FIGURES
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. SUMMARY
    (pp. xi-xxiv)
  6. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  7. RAND MATHEMATICS STUDY PANEL AND RAND STAFF
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  8. Chapter One INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-14)

    The United States needs to substantially improve the teaching and learning of mathematics in American schools. A growing number of Americans believe not only that the future well-being of our nation depends on a mathematically literate population but also that most adults are weak in mathematics, with some groups disproportionately worse off. The basic level of mathematical proficiency needs to be raised substantially, and the gaps in proficiency across societal groups need to be eliminated.

    Despite years spent in mathematics classes learning about fractions, decimals, and percents, many well-educated adults, for example, would respond incorrectly to the following question:

    If...

  9. Chapter Two TEACHERS’ MATHEMATICAL KNOWLEDGE: ITS DEVELOPMENT AND USE IN TEACHING
    (pp. 15-28)

    Our proposed research agenda centers on building the resources needed for high-quality mathematics instruction. Given that the quality of instruction depends fundamentally on what teachersdowith students to develop their mathematical proficiency, and given that what teacherscan dodepends fundamentally on their knowledge of mathematics, we recommend that the first of the three strands of research in the proposed program focus on the mathematical knowledge required for teaching mathematics and on the key resources needed to use that knowledge in teaching. In particular, this strand of research would focus on the materials and institutional contexts that support the...

  10. Chapter Three TEACHING AND LEARNING MATHEMATICAL PRACTICES
    (pp. 29-42)

    Because expertise in mathematics, like expertise in any field, involves more than just possessing certain kinds of knowledge, we recommend that the second strand of the proposed research and development program focus explicitly on mathematical know-how—what successful mathematicians and mathematics usersdo. We refer to the things that they do asmathematical practices. Being able to justify mathematical claims, use symbolic notation efficiently, and make mathematical generalizations are examples of mathematical practices. Such practices are important in both learning and doing mathematics, and the lack of them can hamper the development of mathematics proficiency.

    Our rationale for this focus...

  11. Chapter Four TEACHING AND LEARNING ALGEBRA IN KINDERGARTEN THROUGH 12TH GRADE
    (pp. 43-58)

    The way in which a mathematics curriculum is organized shapes students’ opportunity to learn. A research agenda aimed at understanding and supporting the development of mathematical proficiency should examine the ways in which mathematics instruction is organized. It should do so by looking closely at the organization and presentation of particular mathematical topics and skills in the school curriculum.

    Mathematics teaching and learning are probably best studied within specific mathematical domains and contexts, but there may be aspects of mathematics teaching and learning that are more general and can be studied across multiple domains and contexts. Where systematic inquiry focused...

  12. Chapter Five TOWARD A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND THE MATHEMATICS EDUCATION RESEARCH COMMUNITY
    (pp. 59-76)

    Implementing the research and development program discussed in the previous three chapters will require forging a new partnership between the federal government and researchers and practitioners. Producing cumulative and usable knowledge related to mathematical proficiency and its equitable attainment will require the combined effort of mathematicians, researchers, developers, practitioners, and funding agencies. In this venture, the federal funding agencies, particularly the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), must take the lead. It is the leaders of the funding agencies who must make the case for the resources needed to implement the program described in this report. But beyond that,...

  13. Chapter Six CONCLUSIONS
    (pp. 77-80)

    The United States needs to improve the mathematical proficiency of all students in the nation’s schools. The personal, occupational, and educational demands placed on all Americans in the 21st century call for a level of mathematical proficiency that in generations past was required of only a few. Moreover, as both a moral imperative and a matter of national interest, the nation should move to reduce the gaps in mathematics proficiency that now exist between the economically advantaged and the disadvantaged and among the diverse groups that populate the nation.

    However, the U.S. educational system faces serious problems that impede the...

  14. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 81-94)