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Topic: [ME] From NCTM: Setting the Record Straight [Part II]
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
[ME] From NCTM: Setting the Record Straight [Part II]
Posted: Mar 12, 2000 12:20 PM
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NOTE: This is Part II of three(3) one-page notes from the NCTM. These notes
can also be seen at

Setting the Record Straight about Changes in Mathematics Education

Commonsense Facts about School Mathematics

Every student will enter a world of work that is far different from the one
that existed just a few years ago. Every student will assume the
responsibilities of citizenship in a much more quantitatively driven
society. And every student-not just a select few-has the right to be
mathematically prepared for this future. Quality mathematics education is
not just for those who want to study mathematics and science in college. It
is for everyone! Quality mathematics must be a major component of every
student's education-every year!

Changes in our daily world require equivalent modifications in school
mathematics programs.

Let's look at the facts:

The world is changing.

. We are all bombarded with data that must be absorbed, sorted out,
organized, and used to make increasingly crucial decisions.
. We all live in a world of spreadsheets and databases, digital readouts,
and computer-aided design and manufacturing.

The need for a broader command of basic mathematical concepts and
skills-including measurement and statistics-has never been greater.

Today's students are different.

. They live in a fast-paced world of video games and MTV.
. They are Internet savvy, smoothly juggling multiple images and inputs.
. They are more likely to demand answers when they ask, "Why?"

The status quo of traditional mathematics isn't working.

. Too many adults suffer from math phobia and math avoidance.
. International comparisons leave us well behind our economic competitors.
. The achievement gaps between whites and nonwhites and between wealthy and
poor are large and unacceptable.

Alternatives, aligned with the forward-thinking National Council of
Teachers of Mathematicsm (NCTM) Standards, ARE working.

Many new mathematics programs, including those designated Exemplary or
Promising by the U.S. Department of Education, are closely aligned with the
NCTM Standards and have demonstrated a positive impact on the mathematics
achievement of students.

Some of the greatest student gains in mathematics between 1990 and 1996
have occurred in states like Connecticut, Michigan, Texas, and North
Carolina-four states that have made strong and consistent investments in
state standards and assessments that reflect the vision of the NCTM

The top five states in fourth-grade mathematics achievement as reported by
Education Week in its Quality Counts 2000-Connecticut, Minnesota, Maine,
Wisconsin, and Texas-have all been leaders in adopting the spirit of the
NCTM recommendations for improvement.

Student proficiency on the National Assessment of Educational Progress
(NAEP) mathematics assessments has significantly increased at grades 4, 8,
and 12 between 1990 and 1996, representing approximately one grade level of
growth at each grade level.

The facts are simple. Our children deserve-

Mathematics That Makes Sense!

Mathematics for the Future!
Brought to you by the 100,000 members of the National Council of Teachers
of Mathematics in the interest of common sense, moving forward, and helping
all children learn mathematics. This fact sheet on mathematics education
has been approved by the NCTM Board of Directors.
Permission is granted to quote or reproduce these statements or portions of

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618) 453-4244
Phone: (618) 453-4241 (office)
(618) 457-8903 (home)


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