Write, Review, Referee

  • The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics publishing program looks to the mathematics education community for expertise, insights, and accurate content. Our authors, who include some of the most respected professionals in the field from the classroom, academia, coaching, and administration develop professional materials for our teacher, administrator, counselor, and parent members. Covering grades PK-14, NCTM publishes approximately 15 books and 5 journals over the course of a year.

    If you are an experienced, highly skilled mathematics professional, we want to hear from you on topics that you know best. Whether you're a teacher or a teacher educator, we want to know how you're doing your job. Administrators, math coaches, and researchers from district and state levels, as well, have a place within the pages of the NCTM journals and books. Many NCTM authors are practicing classroom teachers, others may be graduate students, professors, or staff developers. Some work is written by individuals, whereas other manuscripts are prepared by a team of educators. Whatever their niche, all NCTM authors are experienced, highly skilled mathematics professionals. 

    BEFORE YOU GET STARTED

    There are a few things you should know up front:

    • All manuscripts, whether for books or journals must be blinded.
    • As the author, you are responsible for obtaining permissions for all student work and/or copyrighted material that you use in your manuscript.
    • You must sign a copyright release to NCTM. You'll be asked to sign one in EJournal Press for journal manuscripts and as part of the contract-development process for books. Photographers and artists will be asked to sign a release prior to publication.
    • Read some of the books/journals that you want to write for so you can get to know your audience as well as the tone, and professionalism for each one.  

    What We DON'T Do in Books or Journals

    • We don't accept manuscripts in LaTeX. All manuscripts must be done in Word, using MathType.
    • We don't take fiction.
      • We don't publish curriculum/text books. Textbooks are defined as
        • publications designed to follow a year-long or semester-long study
        • publications that could be used in place of a traditional basal text
        • publications that cover a large majority of the standards and/or topics of a particular grade or course
        • publications that provide a comprehensive approach to curriculum, instruction, and assessment, including student problems and/or exercises intended or homework assignments.

        NCTM books present new and different approaches to develop and support best practices in mathematics education. Do you have an idea? NCTM seeks authors with innovative ideas for books that will support teachers and the mathematics education community, whether you want to develop your idea in a book proposal or you've already turned it into a completed manuscript. See NCTM's online catalog www.nctm.org/store for the full array of current NCTM publications.

        Information on what to write, how to submit, and finals steps in the book process can be found here.  

        Annual Perspectives in Mathematics Education (APME) presents a focused examination from a range of perspectives on a selected topic in mathematics education each year. Its contributors include classroom teachers, university researchers, and other educators, and its chapters target an equally diverse audience with a timely exploration ofresearch and practice across the pre-K–16 spectrum.

        Information on what to write, how to submit, and final steps in the APME process can be found here. 

        NCTM Journals

        NCTM's five journals provide guidance and resources for developing and implementing mathematics curriculum, instruction, and assessment that are coherent, focused, well-articulated, and consistent with research in the field. Increased student learning can be achieved with the effective innovative practices found in our pages that bring a fresh perspective to the challenges of working with mathematics students in all grade levels.Some classroom teachers are intimidated at the thought of writing for an academic journal. As a first step, contributing to a department is a great way for classroom teachers to initially participate. Department editors are able to mentor authors one-on-one.

        Often, we may think that the things we do in our classrooms are "old hat" because we do them routinely, when in fact they may be quite innovative. If you are a classroom teacher with some ideas to share but are a little uncertain about how to proceed, the following suggestions may be helpful.

        1. Writing is a process, not an event, and developing your ideas into a coherent article takes time. Begin by keeping a notebook. Jot down your ideas, successes, and concerns. Reflect on these notes and begin to outline your manuscript. Try to keep samples of students' work to include in your article; such examples enliven the classroom aspect of your work.
        2. Choose a topic that you know well and feel passionately about.
        3. Set goals for the manuscript. What do you want the reader to know and be able to do after reading your article?
        4. Write clearly and succinctly. Your article should be easy to read and understand.

        Mathematics Teacher (MT) is devoted to improving mathematics instruction for grades 8–14 and supporting teacher education programs. It provides a forum for sharing activities and pedagogical strategies, deepening understanding of mathematical ideas, and linking mathematics education research to practice.

        Information on calls for manuscripts, what to write, how to submit, and final steps in the MT process can be found here.

        Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School (MTMS) supports the enhancement and improvement of grades 5–9 mathematics education and provides professional development by serving as a resource for practicing and prospective teachers, as well as supervisors, coaches, and teacher educators. It is a forum for the exchange of mathematical ideas, activities, issues, and pedagogical strategies, and for sharing and interpreting research.

        Information on calls for manuscripts, what to write, how to submit, and final steps in the MTMS process can be found here.  

        Teaching Children Mathematics (TCM) supports the improvement of pre-K–grade 6 mathematics education by serving as a resource for teachers so as to provide more and better mathematics for all students. It is a forum for the exchange of mathematics ideas, activities, and pedagogical strategies, and for sharing and interpreting research.

        Information on calls for manuscripts, what to write, how to submit, and final steps in the TCM process can be found here.

        The Journal for Research in Mathematics Education (JRMEis devoted to the interests of teachers of mathematics and mathematics education at all levels—preschool through adult. The JRME is a forum for disciplined inquiry into the teaching and learning of mathematics. The editors encourage the submission of a variety ofmanuscripts.

        What to write, how to submit, and final steps in the JRME process can be found here.

        Mathematics Teacher Educator (MTE) contributes to building a professional knowledge base for mathematics teacher educators that stems from, develops, and strengthens practitioner knowledge. The journal provides a means for practitioner knowledge related to the preparation and support of teachers of mathematics to be not only public, shared, and stored, but also verified and improved over time (Hiebert, Gallimore, and Stigler 2002).

        What to write, how to submit, and final steps in the MTE process can be found here.

        See two short video presentations on Writing for NCTM Journals

        " Common Writing Pitfalls and Easy Fixes" by Beth Skipper, editor of Teaching Children Mathematics, provides ideas on the dos and don'ts of writing for the school journals. (23:49)

        " Write for the Journals: Good Ideas Can Become Articles" by Rick Anderson, editor of Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, provides an overview of the process of getting published from writing to layout and publication. (10:44)

        Referee a Manuscript

        Why Referee Manuscripts?

        The answer is simple—you always learn something. As a referee, you learn something about writing, pedagogy, and mathematics—every single time. 

        What Are the Benefits of Refereeing Manuscripts?

        • Refereeing manuscripts is a great way to get your feet wet in the writing process and to share your perspective and expertise with prospective authors. 
        • You can be heard and influence the journal. You share your expertise and perspective on what kinds of activities and suggestions are helpful to classroom teachers. 
        • You will develop professionally. As you read potential articles, you are exposed to new ideas and methods of presentation.
        • You will stay current with what students are interested in and how their interests intersect their study of mathematics.
        • You will be contributing and giving back to the mathematics teachers' community.
        • You will become more professionally involved with YOUR membership organization.

        What Is the Time Commitment for Referees?

        You will be requested to review about two or three manuscripts a year that are closely matched to the areas of interest and expertise on your profile. It takes approximately two hours to read and analyze a manuscript and then to write a well-developed review online. Three weeks are given to complete the review. If you recommend the manuscript be revised, you may be asked to re-review after the revisions are made. 

        What Is the Manuscript Referee Process? 

        • When a manuscript is submitted that matches your areas of interest and expertise, your name—along with other expert's—is flagged. You and two other subject-matter experts will receive an e-mail invitation to referee the submission.
        • If you accept the invitation, you will receive a second e-mail that gives you access to the manuscript, as well as the electronic evaluation form.
        • During the review process, you will recommend to accept, reject, or revise the submission.
        • Manuscripts then move to the appropriate journal's Editorial Panel for a final decision.
        • If the author is asked to revise the manuscript, the Editorial Panel may return the revised copy to you to assess whether the author made the necessary changes.

        What Is the Anatomy of a Good Manuscript Review?

        Choose a journal document, learn what makes a good review, and see a sample of an actual review.

        Teaching Children Mathematics 
        Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School
        Mathematics Teacher
        Mathematics Teacher Educator


        How Do I Sign Up to Referee?

        If you are an NCTM member—or your school has an institutional membership, select the journal(s) you wish to review for from the list below. Select "New Users: Please register here," then following the on-screen prompts. Please note that members can choose to be a referee, a reviewer, or both.

        Teaching Children Mathematics 
        Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 
        Mathematics Teacher  
        Mathematics Teacher Educator
        Journal for Research in Mathematics Education

        If I Am Already a Software, Books and Product Reviewer, How Can I become a Referee for Manuscripts?

        Select the appropriate journal from the list below. Scroll to the bottom of the screen under General Tasks. Click "Modify Profile/Password." About halfway down the profile screen, look for "Willing to Review." Use the Ctrl Key to select Manuscripts. Continue scrolling to the bottom of the screen and click "Modify Profile/Continue."

        Teaching Children Mathematics 
        Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 
        Mathematics Teacher  

        How Do I Update My Profile with New Contact Information, Interests, and Areas of Expertise?

        Select the appropriate journal from the list below. Scroll to the bottom of the screen under General Tasks. Click "Modify Profile/Password. Make your changes, then scroll to the bottom of the screen and click "Modify Profile/Continue."

        Teaching Children Mathematics 
        Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 
        Mathematics Teacher
        Mathematics Teacher Educator
        Journal for Research in Mathematics Education  

        See a short video presentation on Refereeing for NCTM Journals

        " Be a Journal Referee" by Tara Slesar, editor of Mathematics Teacher, provides an overview of the review process and will motivate you to sign up. (12:51)

        Review a Book

        A great way to begin writing for the journals is to volunteer to write a review of a software, books, or products. We will send you the item to be reviewed; you read or use the item then write a 250-word review. If you are a current Council member or teach at a school that is an institutional member, you can help by refereeing manuscripts.

        Why Review Software, Books, or Products?

        The answer is simple—you always learn something. When you review software, books, or products, you learn something about writing, pedagogy, and mathematics—every single time.

        What Are the Benefits of Reviewing Software, Books, or Products?

        • It helps you keep a finger on the pulse of mathematics.
        • Your thinking skills become sharper because you have to ponder and reflect on why you liked or disliked software, books, or products.
        • You can keep or donate the items you review.
        • You share your expertise and perspective on what kinds of activities and suggestions are helpful to classroom teachers.
        • You will develop professionally. As you review new software, books, and products, you are exposed to new ideas.  
        • You will be contributing and giving back to the mathematics teachers' community.
        • You will become more professionally involved with YOUR membership organization.

        What Is the Time Commitment for Reviewers?

        Reviewers are given two months to complete software, book, and product reviews. You may be asked to review several materials a year.

        • When an item is submitted that matches your profile, you will receive an e-mail invitation to review the item. You will be asked to provide a valid mailing address.
        • The items are mailed to you from the Reston office and are yours to keep after you complete the review.
        • E-mail your review to the address on the original e-mail.
        • If you are unable or uninterested in reviewing the item after receiving it, return it to NCTM as soon as possible, so it can be forwarded to someone else.

        What Is the Anatomy of a Good Software, Books, or Products Review? 

        The following guidelines are given to help you review material. Write the review in narrative form, but be sure to address these points.

        • Overview: Provide an objective summary of the product's contents as they apply to some particular category or reader. Consider including one specific example from the content of the book (e.g., describe one activity). Address any distinctive features such as unconventional use of terminology, unusual topics, novel approaches, etc.
        • Accuracy: Any errors in facts should be pointed out. For example, mathematical errors discovered in the review process should be noted.
        • Uses of the material. Identify the audience(s) the product is written for, as given by the author(s), and the ways the author(s) suggest the material might be used. Note whether content and presentation of the material appear appropriate for the intended audience. If possible, use the product with students and report their reactions.
        • Software: In reviewing software, note special features and the program's ease of use. Be especially mindful of issues about installing the software and getting started.
        • Opinions: Comment on strengths and major weaknesses. If a product is good, say so and say why. If, in your opinion, a product has some weaknesses or negative characteristics, these should be described in a professional manner and, if possible, supported with examples.
        • Recommendation: Close the review with some sort of recommendation about purchase and possible uses or limitations.
        • Things to note:
        • Reviews are limited to 250 words or less and should be typed double-spaced.
        • The review should conclude with your name, affiliation, city, state abbreviation and zip code. For example: Bill Jones, Smith High School, New Orleans, LA, 10023.
        • Your review may be edited for style and clarity. Due to space limitations, your review may be shortened for publication.
        • Avoid terms and expressions that can be readily lifted out of context and misinterpreted. For example, a phrase like "should be in every classroom" can be interpreted by readers and quoted in a way that implies the product has been endorsed by NCTM.

        How Do I Sign Up to Review?

        If you are an NCTM member—or your school has an institutional membership, select the journal(s) you wish to review for from the list below. Select "New Users: Please register here," then following the on-screen prompts. Please note that members can choose to be a reviewer, a referee, or both.

        Teaching Children Mathematics 
        Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 
        Mathematics Teacher 
        Mathematics Teacher Educator
        Journal for Research in Mathematics Education

        If I Am Already a Referee for Manuscripts, How Can I become a Software, Books and Product Reviewer? 

        Select the appropriate journal from the list below. Scroll to the bottom of the screen under General Tasks. Click "Modify Profile/Password." About halfway down the profile screen, look for "Willing to Review." Use the Ctrl Key to select Educational Materials. Continue scrolling to the bottom of the screen and click "Modify Profile/Continue."

        Teaching Children Mathematics
        Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School
        Mathematics Teacher  

        How Do I Update My Profile with New Contact Information, Interests, and Areas of Expertise? 

        Select the appropriate journal from the list below. Scroll to the bottom of the screen under General Tasks. Click "Modify Profile/Password. Make your changes, then scroll to the bottom of the screen and click "Modify Profile/Continue."

        Teaching Children Mathematics
        Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School
        Mathematics Teacher
        Mathematics Teacher Educator
        Journal for Research in Mathematics Education