Date: Mar 25, 1995 6:48 PM
Author: Ronald A Ward
Subject: Follow-up--Chapter 4--Everybody Counts
Most of the discussion on Chapter 4 seemed to center around the goals for

elementary and secondary school mathematics. So, here is the view

expressed in Everybody Counts. See how it compares with your own:

Elementary School: "ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IS WHERE MOST CHILDREN LEARN THE

MATHEMATICAL SKILLS NEEDED FOR DAILY LIFE. Formerly, shopkeeper

arithmetic was an adequate objective since, for most people, mathematics

in daily life required little more than arithmetic. This is no longer

true. Calculators now do most of the arithmetic needed for daily life,

while a technologically dominated society requires that everyone have a

good grasp of chance, of reasoning, of form, and of pattern. WHILE THE

GOAL OF ELEMENTARY EDUCATION HAS NOT CHANGED, THE MATHEMATICAL OBJECTIVES

APPROPRIATE TO THIS GOAL ARE VERY DIFFERENT NOW FROM WHAT THEY WERE HALF

A CENTURY AGO. THE MAJOR OBJECTIVE OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL MATHEMATICS

SHOULD BE TO DEVELOP NUMBER SENSE." [Caps are mine. The reader might be

interested to go on and see the author's explication of this

objective]

Secondary School: "Secondary education is where students begin to learn

the mathematics they will need for careers as well as the mathematics

required for effective citizenship. Whereas, traditionally, secondary

school has been characterized by the introduction of algebra as an

extension of arithmetic, contemporary society requires much greater

breadth from secondary school mathematics. THE FOCUS OF THE SECONDARY

SCHOOL CURRICULUM REMAINS--AS IT SHOULD--ON THE TRANSITION FROM CONCRETE

TO CONCEPTUAL MATHEMATICS. As students' understanding moves from numbers

to variables, from description to proof, from special cases to general

equations, they learn the power of mathematical symbols. In a very real

sense, THE MAJOR OBJECTIVE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL MATHEMATICS IS TO DEVELOP

SYMBOL SENSE." [Again, caps are mine]

Finally, although I did not ask a similar question about college

mathematics, there is a fairly lengthy section on that topic. Among

other things the author concludes: "IF IT DOES NOTHING ELSE,

UNDERGRADUATE MATHEMATICS SHOULD HELP STUDENTS DEVELOP FUNCTION SENSE--A

FAMILIARITY WITH EXPRESSING RELATIONS AMONG VARIABLES."

Thus, what we have are: 1. Number sense,

2. Symbol sense, and

3. Function sense

I will post Chapter Five questions on Monday.

Rob Ward/Western Washington U/Bellingham, WA 98225

ronaward@henson.cc.wwu.edu