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The Curriculum Principle

A curriculum is more than a collection of activities: it must be coherent, focused on important mathematics, and well articulated across the grades. 

Mathematics is a highly interconnected and cumulative subject. The mathematics curriculum therefore needs to introduce ideas in such a way that they build on one another. Instead of seeing mathematics as a set of disconnected topics, students should perceive the relationships among important mathematical ideas. As students build connections and skills, their understanding deepens and expands.

The curriculum also must focus on important mathematics--mathematics that is worth the time and attention of students and that will prepare them for continued study and for solving problems in a variety of school, home, and work settings. The relative importance of particular mathematics topics is likely to change over time. Topics such as recursion, iteration, and the comparison of algorithms have emerged and deserve increased attention because of their relevance.

Students should have opportunities to learn increasingly more sophisticated mathematical ideas as they progress through the grades. They should not spend a significant part of their instructional time reviewing mathematics content. A well-articulated curriculum is necessary for teachers at each level to know what mathematics their students have already studied and will study in future grades.

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