RESTON, Va., October 6, 2009—The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) today released Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making, which suggests practical changes to the high school mathematics curriculum to refocus learning on reasoning and sense making. This shift is not a minor refinement but constitutes a substantial rethinking of the high school math curriculum.
“Reasoning and sense making are at the heart of mathematics from early childhood through adulthood,” said NCTM President Henry (Hank) Kepner. “A high school mathematics curriculum based on reasoning and sense making will prepare students for higher learning, career success, and productive citizenship.”
NCTM’s new publication suggests that the more mathematics instruction builds on what students have previously learned, the more students will be able to learn and retain as they progress from prekindergarten through college. Additionally, focusing on reasoning and sense making has the potential to give coherence to the curriculum and streamline it to improve students’ learning of important mathematics. A focus on mathematical reasoning and sense making also helps students to use mathematics more effectively in making wise decisions in the workplace and as citizens.
Reasoning is the process of drawing conclusions based on evidence or stated assumptions—extending the knowledge that one has at a given moment. Sense making is developing understanding of a situation, concept, or context by connecting it with existing knowledge or experience.
The first volume in a series of companion books will also be published this month. Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making in Statistics and Probability will be followed by books that offer examples of ways to make reasoning and sense making central in algebra and geometry.
Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making was developed with the involvement of high school teachers, mathematics educators, an administrator, mathematicians, and a statistician.
Learn more about Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is a public voice of mathematics education, providing vision, leadership, and professional development to support teachers in ensuring mathematics learning of the highest quality for all students. With more than 100,000 members and 230 Affiliates, NCTM is the world’s largest organization dedicated to improving mathematics education in prekindergarten through grade 12. The Council’s Principles and Standards for School Mathematics includes guidelines for excellence in mathematics education. Its Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics: A Quest for Coherence, released in 2006, identifies the most important mathematical topics for each grade level.
Media interested in arranging an interview with Henry (Hank) Kepner, NCTM President, and Gary Martin, lead writer of Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making, contact: Gay Dillin, Media Relations Manager, 703/620-9840, ext. 2189.