NCTM Releases Curriculum Focal Points to Focus Math Curricula

  • September 12, 2006

    NCTM Releases Curriculum Focal Points to Focus Math Curricula

    Reston, Va., September 12, 2006 -The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) today released Curriculum Focal Points, which identifies three important mathematical topics at each level, prekindergarten through grade 8. The publication is intended to bring more coherence to the very diverse mathematics curricula currently in use. It provides a framework for states and districts to design more focused curricular expectations and assessments for pre-K-grade 8 mathematics curriculum development.

    "The Curriculum Focal Points are designed to promote a discussion on the refinement of mathematics curricula and address the impression that various state and district curricula are 'a mile wide and an inch deep,'" said NCTM President Francis (Skip) Fennell.

    "The Curriculum Focal Points present a vision for the design of the next generation of state curriculum standards and state tests, and they present a way to bring needed focus to what is taught in mathematics."

    State standards often describe specific learning expectations by grade. In some cases there are close to 100 expectations per grade, with different expectations from state to state. The focal points are intended as a first step toward a national discussion on how to bring consistency and coherence to the mathematics curricula used in the United States. At each grade level, prekindergarten through grade 8, the Curriculum Focal Points identify three topics, described as "cohesive clusters of related knowledge, skills, and concepts," which form the necessary foundation for understanding concepts in higher-level mathematics.

    Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics: A Quest for Coherence was developed with the involvement of mathematicians, math educators, curriculum developers, and classroom teachers.

    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 100,000 members and more than 240 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 and issues a call for all students to engage in more challenging mathematics. NCTM is dedicated to ongoing dialogue and constructive discussion with all stakeholders about what is best for our nation's students.

    Media interested in arranging an interview with NCTM President Skip Fennell contact: Gay Dillin, Media Relations Manager, 703/620-9840, ext. 2189 or 703/731-7110.