Vol. 47, No. 2, March 2016
The NCTM Research Committee identifies key influences on mathematics education that are largely outside the domain of the academic world in which most mathematics education researchers live. The groups that are identified—including the media, companies and foundations, and other academic domains—affect the public’s perception of mathematics and mathematics education. They argue that mathematics education researchers can intervene to shift these storylines and positionings and have greater impact on policy, practice, and public perception in the future.
This commentary highlights the contribution that careful and systematic analyses of curriculum or content standards can make to questions and issues important in the mathematics education field. The authors note the increased role that curriculum standards have played as part of a standards-based education reform strategy.
The present study investigates whether current textbooks used in Algebra I courses demonstrate a formalisms-first approach using 5 different analyses. Results show that despite nearly 2 decades of research on student learning, the conventional textbooks used in most classrooms have been resistant to change and emphasize manipulation with symbols prior to making sense of verbal scenarios.
As part of a dramatic recent shift in tertiary education, many undergraduate students now learn mathematics via fully online courses. At present, the mathematics education research community knows very little about this shift. The authors consider implications of an investigation into the instructor experience of fully online undergraduate mathematics courses. The main emergent theme was instructor concern about the loss of short-cycle face-to-face human interaction. The authors’ argue that this concern is serious but should be seen as an opportunity for education researchers.
The authors describe a case study in which they investigate the effectiveness of a lecture in advanced mathematics. They videorecorded a lecture delivered by an experienced professor who had a reputation for being an outstanding instructor. Using video recall, they interviewed the professor to determine the ideas that he intended to convey and how he tried to convey these ideas in this lecture. They also interviewed 6 students to see what they understood from this lecture. The students did not comprehend the ideas that the professor cited as central to his lecture. Based on their analyses, they propose 2 factors to account for why students did not understand these ideas.
A book review of Mathematics & Mathematics Education: Searching for Common Ground, edited by Michael N. Fried and Tommy Dreyfus.
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