Apr 21, 2003
Toward a Strategic Research and Development Program in Mathematics Education
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A clear need exists for substantial improvement in mathematics proficiency in U.S. schools. While the federal government and the nation's school systems have made significant investments toward improving mathematics education, the knowledge base supporting these efforts has generally been weak. The RAND Mathematics Study Panel was convened as part of a broader effort 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 has proposed a strategic R&D program supporting the improvement of mathematics proficiency, and equity in proficiency, among U.S. school students. 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. The panel also recommends that the initial stages of the program include three key study areas: collecting evidence to support decisions concerning standards of mathematical proficiency, creating analytic descriptions of current instructional practice and curriculum in U.S. classroom, and developing measures of mathematical proficiency.