NCTM Position Statements

  • NCTM position statements define a particular problem, issue, or need and describe its relevance to mathematics education. These statements address important and timely policy issues relevant to mathematics education. They rest on the foundation provided by Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, Principles to Actions and research, and address issues that extend beyond the classroom. Each one defines the Council’s position or answers a question central to the issue. Position statements are approved by the NCTM Board of Directors.

  • NCTM Position Statements

    Procedural fluency is a critical component mathematical proficiency and is more than memorizing facts and procedures.
    Algebra is not confined to a course or set of courses but is a strand that unfolds across a pre-K–12 curriculum.

    Practices that support access and equity require comprehensive understanding and require being responsive to students’ backgrounds, experiences, cultural perspectives, traditions, and knowledge.

    To ensure that all students can gain access to, interpret, and share information fluently, teachers must address multiple dimensions of instruction.

    Young learners’ future understanding of mathematics requires an early foundation based on a high-quality, challenging, and accessible mathematics education.

    Mentorship is important in shaping and developing the next generation of teachers, particularly as expectations for students become more rigorous.

    The Common Core State Standards offer a foundation for the development of more rigorous, focused, and coherent mathematics curricula, instruction, and assessments that promote conceptual understanding and reasoning as well as skill fluency.

    Computer science should be incorporated into the curriculum in a way that enhances, rather than limits, students’ college and career readiness in mathematics.

    Professional development courses and workshops for future and current teachers need to model effective pedagogies for teaching statistics, in addition to focusing on developing understanding of statistical concepts, mastery of statistical content, and knowledge of the essential ideas of statistical thinking and problem solving. (A joint position statement of the American Statistical Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.)

    Collaboration between researchers and school personnel provides integrated perspectives for addressing critical issues in mathematics teaching and learning.

    The ultimate goal of the K–12 mathematics curriculum should not be to get students into and through a course in calculus by twelfth grade but to have established the mathematical foundation that will enable students to pursue whatever course of study interests them when they get to college. (A joint position statement of the Mathematical Association of America and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.)

    Large-scale mathematics assessments should not be used as the sole source of information to make high-stakes decisions about schools, teachers, and students.

    Much of the achievement gap in mathematics is a function of differential instructional opportunities. All students should have the opportunity to receive high-quality mathematics instruction, learn challenging grade-level content, and receive the support necessary to be successful.

    Strategic use of technology strengthens mathematics teaching and learning.

    To teach mathematics with high expectations means that teachers recognize that each and every student, from prekindergarten through college, is able to solve challenging mathematical tasks.

    When implementing interventions, teachers must possess strong backgrounds in mathematical content knowledge for teaching, pedagogical content knowledge, and a wide range of instructional strategies.

    Calculators in the elementary grades serve as aids in advancing student understanding without replacing the need for other calculation methods.

    Students need to develop an understanding of metric system units and relationships, as well as fluency in applying the metric system to real-world situations.

    Every elementary school should have access to an elementary mathematics specialist to enhance the teaching, learning, and assessing of mathematics to improve student achievement. (A joint position of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators [AMTE], the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics [ASSM], the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics [NCSM], and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM] in response to the release of Elementary Mathematics Specialists: A Reference for Teacher Credentialing and Degree Programs [AMTE, 2010].)

    Students with exceptional mathematical promise must be engaged in enriching learning opportunities to allow them to pursue their interests, develop their talent, and maintain their passion for mathematics.
    Professional growth and support should be the foremost goals of any teacher evaluation process, which should be led by those knowledgeable about effective mathematics instruction.
    A coherent, well-articulated curriculum is an essential tool for guiding teacher collaboration, goal-setting, analysis of student thinking, and implementation.