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Sometimes, even with the best-made plans, the research indicates that some students are forced off the path to mathematical success by structural or systemic barriers that exist in some schools (Jilk 2014). Two of these structural obstacles are student and teacher tracking. Student tracking is the placement of students into qualitatively different and in some cases dead-end mathematics course pathways. Student tracking is insidious because these dead-end pathways are not mathematically meaningful and do not prepare students for any continued study of mathematics. NCTM officially reframed its equity statement to focus on Access, Equity, and Empowerment, ...
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“It was fun to watch the "ah-ha" moments because you could see the connection they made through the successful problems they'd solved and their explanations.” - former 8th grade student. Even though my classes experience the same lesson, I often remind my students that they will each take something different away each day. Regardless of where their understanding is, I want students to understand how capable they all are in learning mathematics. To help students recognize their growth, I have them study their mistakes, analyze all their assessments at the end of each semester, and take reassessments to demonstrate their new understanding. In my first ...
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7 people recommend this.
In a previous blog , we outlined NCTM’s history of engaging the mathematics education community on issues at the intersections between culture and mathematics, as well as works critiquing school mathematics and mathematics education using critical theories. In a 2017 Journal for Research in Mathematics Education article, Dr. Luis Leyva highlighted the intersecting nature of whiteness and gender as contributing to racialized and gendered spaces that produce inequities in mathematics education. There is a significant body of research literature examining school mathematics as a political act that challenges the ways in which mathematics education is framed. ...
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5 people recommend this.
Getting correct answers does not support conceptual understanding. We need to shift away from the practices of rewarding students whose learning style and personality are compatible with algorithms, following steps, and getting-answers. Getting answers does not support conceptual understanding - these students do not achieve true understanding or depth of knowledge on which they can build and connect ideas.   We need to build depth of knowledge that goes beyond answer-getting, as highlighted by Phil Daro ( http://serpmedia.org/daro-talks/ ). A student’s ability to memorize an algorithm and answer a question correctly does not indicate conceptual ...
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4 people recommend this.
It always makes me sad when I go into primary grades classrooms during mathematics and see slumped shoulders, bowed heads, and even tears. In many ways, I find it entirely improbable that as a society we’ve been able to put together two things as inherently joyful as children and mathematics and create shockingly large amounts of boredom and misery. In some ways, this is really quite an achievement. My commitment to bringing joy into mathematics classrooms comes from two places. The first is a recognition that comes out of theories of learning that children learn best when they are engaged and are not stressed. For example, we know that not only do timed tests ...
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2 people recommend this.
“Through learning how to lead and guide someone else's learning I found that I had a lot to learn as well, so I think my knowledge and understanding of how to teach, listen, ask questions to help make connections, and be patient all while working with a group or team (more than one person at a time) has improved.” - Former 8th grade student. Reflections are powerful tools for personal, social, and academic development. I ask my students to reflect on their learning and behavior at least once a week. By reflecting often, they strengthen their capacity to identify their strengths, acknowledge their areas for growth, plan ahead, develop empathy, and improve ...
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12 people recommend this.
One of the questions I am frequently asked goes something like this: “What do you think about acceleration?” The question is often asked in the context of teachers working with parents who want their child to skip grade level work or entire courses so they can get into the next grade or course more quickly. The parental goal more often than not is to ensure their child can complete calculus in high school. As a school district math curriculum administrator, I faced “acceleration pressure” from parents nearly weekly. Should we support acceleration? This question, like many questions in mathematics education, does not have a binary answer. The answer is “it ...
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As a student, I was one of those kids who sort of caught on quickly to algorithms. I was “good” at math. As an adult, I realize that had nothing to do with my intelligence; instead, it was - and still is - more of a reflection of my personality. As I come to research and understand more about how learners learn, I have become more reflective of my own learning experience. I reflect in order to keep myself in grounded in “my students’ shoes,” so that I may continue to understand how they learn and what they need from me as a facilitator of their learning. As I learn more about Growth Mindset and put words to what I’ve felt innately, it is clear to me that true ...
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In the September President’s Webinar, I reflected on the fact that in 2020 NCTM will celebrate its centennial—a truly remarkable accomplishment for any organization. The year 2020 will also mark the 50th anniversary of the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education , the premier research journal in mathematics education. As I noted in the webinar, one of the factors that has contributed to the long-term success of NCTM is its publishing program, which includes not only the foremost mathematics education research journal and the leading practitioner journals but seminal publications such as An Agenda for Action , Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for ...
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6 people recommend this.
NCTM has a history of engaging the mathematics education community on issues at the intersections between culture and mathematics, as well as works critiquing school mathematics and mathematics education using critical theories. Research that addresses systemic barriers to making mathematics accessible to each and every student and improving students’ experiences in the classroom is critical to our students’ success, the future of our nation, and is part of NCTM’s strategic framework. There is a significant body of research literature examining school mathematics as a political act that challenges the ways in which mathematics education is framed as being ...
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MyNCTM is Your NCTM!

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You know, and we know, that learning, planning, and growing with others is better than doing so in isolation. MyNCTM, just released, is designed to support you in actively doing this with one another.  The MyNCTM space provides teachers, leaders, teacher educators, and researchers with opportunities and support to share, collaborate, and mentor and learn from one another—MyNCTM is about you! So what does it do for you? MyNCTM brings improved search and filtering features as well as resource libraries that address the concerns we all have experienced when not being able to find the resources we were looking for on nctm.org. Not only will it be easier to ...
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The most frequent questions I receive concern instructional time: How much time should we have for math class at the elementary level? Middle level? High school? What does the research say about time? Does NCTM have a position statement on time? The last question is the easiest to answer: NCTM does not have a current position statement on instructional time. Members with long memories might recall that once upon a time, NCTM did have a position statement on time,   Math Takes Time. I think these questions all falsely presume that there is an answer to the time challenge. In other words, the questions assume there is a magical fixed amount of instructional ...
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One of the many great things about education is that every year brings a new opportunity. Unlike in most other professions, our professional year has a clear start and finish that brings with it both an opportunity to reflect on and learn from the year that just ended, as well as a chance to "wipe the slate clean" and reinvent ourselves as necessary. We have an annual chance to implement new learning, create a more effective classroom environment, and build new and more effective relationships with both students and colleagues. However, in order to continually grow professionally and avoid the trap of having "multiple first years of experience," we have to ...
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April 2020 will be a significant year in the history of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. In Chicago, from April 1–4, NCTM will celebrate its centennial as a council of teachers of mathematics at the   NCTM Centennial Annual Meeting: Looking Back and Moving Forward .   This is a remarkable accomplishment. Very few organizations or businesses last 100 years. Think of the major businesses that have vanished in the lifetime of NCTM: Standard Oil, Woolworth's, Borders, Bethlehem Steel, General Foods, Blockbuster, Polaroid, and Pan Am are just a few of the many that no longer exist. NCTM's long history is a credit to the strength of NCTM's members, ...
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