Grand Challenges in Mathematics Education

  • Mathematics education researchers and practitioners, policy makers, and parents seek answers to Grand Challenges that will ultimately result in the enhancement of mathematics teaching, learning, curriculum, and assessment “ensuring that all students attain mathematics proficiency and increasing the numbers of students from all racial, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic groups who attain the highest levels of mathematics achievement.” (NCTM, 2014, p. 61).

    Other fields have identified a list of grand challenges as a way to prioritize the most pressing problems that research should address. The JRME article Grand Challenges and Opportunities in Mathematics Education Research provides examples of grand challenges from other fields. These examples illustrate how the structure of Grand Challenges differs from research questions.

    In the JRME article, the NCTM Research Committee outlined the following criteria for Grand Challenges in Mathematics Education:

    1. Represent complex and extremely difficult questions that are solvable (potentially within 10–20 years);
    2. Improve the quality of life through positive educational, social, and economic outcomes potentially affecting millions of people;
    3. Involve multiple research projects across many sub-disciplines to be satisfactorily addressed;
    4. Require measureable outcomes so that progress and completion can be identified;
    5. Compel popular support by encouraging the public to relate to, understand, and appreciate the outcomes of the effort.

    At this time, we invite you to draft and submit grand challenges for mathematics education. We encourage you to collaborate with others as you draft grand challenges. As we move forward with this effort, you will have opportunities to help draft grand challenges, comment on drafts written by others, and engage in conversations online or at conferences and professional meetings. Learn more about the Grand Challenges process »  




    Email Address


    Note: Your name and email will be shared with the NCTM Research Committee in case they need to contact you for clarification. It will not be shared beyond the NCTM Research Committee.

    Proposed Grand Challenge that Meets the Five Criteria


    Rationale for the Significance of this Grand Challenge


    Provide Key Words that Characterize This Grand Challenge


    I would be interested in participating in conversations about the grand challenges at a meeting. Please email me about opportunities.

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