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Key Messages

NCTM Mission Statement

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is the public voice of mathematics education, supporting teachers to ensure equitable mathematics learning of the highest quality for all students through vision, leadership, professional development, and research.

NCTM Goal 

NCTM’s goal is to lead efforts to improve Pre-K–12 mathematics instruction in North America, and to engage in activities and initiatives that are indispensable to the work of classroom teachers of mathematics.

NCTM Key Messages 

All students should receive a quality mathematics education, regardless of sex, ethnicity, or race.

Teachers should encourage and inspire every student to continue the study of mathematics.  To be able to do so, teachers must themselves have a solid knowledge of both mathematics content and teaching strategies and also enjoy teaching mathematics.

Mathematical literacy is essential for every child’s future.  A solid mathematics education is essential for an informed public, our national security, a strong economy, and national well-being.

It is essential to have a work force of strong mathematics teachers that reflects the demographic characteristics of the student population. 

Teachers, administrators, and counselors at all educational levels should expect students from all populations to be successful in mathematics.

There is a strong, direct correlation between learning and teaching:  High-quality learning requires good teaching.  Furthermore, content knowledge alone is not enough to make a good teacher; effective teaching practice can and must be learned.

The primary focus of all professional development is helping teachers teach mathematical content to their students.  Effective programs of teacher preparation and professional development help teachers understand the mathematics they teach, how their students learn that mathematics, and how to help each student learn.

Teachers must have access to professional programs and activities that will lead them to help students learn with understanding, as advocated in Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.

Key Messages for  

Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, Curriculum Focal Points, and Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making  


Positioning Statements 

Higher standards for our students, higher standards for ourselves 

More and better mathematics for all students 


Key Messages 

  • Principles and Standards for School Mathematics presents a timely, updated vision of school mathematics, defining a future where all students have access to high-quality, engaging mathematics instruction.
  • Principles and Standards sets forth guidelines for excellence in mathematics education and calls for all students to engage in more-challenging mathematics.
  • Principles and Standards presents a vision of higher standards for students and teachers, and more and better mathematics for all students.
  • Students who are taught with curricula modeled after Principles and Standards for School Mathematics will learn more mathematics, be better problem solvers, and be better prepared for the future.
  • Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics identifies three important mathematical topics for each grade level.  The focal points are the related ideas, concepts, skills, and procedures that form the foundation for understanding and lasting learning.
  • Curriculum Focal Points is the next step in implementing Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.
  • Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making advocates that reasoning and sense making in the context of strong mathematical content will help high school students meet future challenges in school and the work force.
  • Reasoning and sense making provide a focus for high school mathematics that will give students a foundation for their future success.
  • Mathematical reasoning involves drawing logical conclusions based on assumptions and definitions. Sense making may be considered developing understanding of a situation, context, or concept by connecting it with existing knowledge. Reasoning and sense making are closely interrelated and are the foundation for a solid preparation in mathematics.



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