Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Future of High School Mathematics

Math is More (a group of mathematics educators, mathematicians, and concerned individuals committed to real and significant improvement in the performance of the complex system of mathematics education) has released a report: The Future of High School Mathematics.

A few important items from the report are listed below:

Traditional approaches to mathematics curricula, teaching, and assessment will not meet the challenge of preparing more students for the demands of a changing world. Too many adults have unpleasant memories of their high school mathematics, and they avoid using mathematical reasoning even when it would be useful. For far too long, many students have been relegated to mathematics courses that fail to prepare them for future study and work. As a result, there are unacceptable achievement gaps between students from different economic, social, and cultural sectors of society.  Every student— not just a select few—has the right to be mathematically prepared for the future.

To achieve success in college, the workplace and life, American students must not only master important content, they must also be adept problem-solvers and critical thinkers who can contribute and apply their knowledge and skills in novel contexts and unforeseen situations,  High school graduates must also be able to work collegially in teams and be keenly aware of the rapidly changing world around them.

The mathematics students need to learn today is not the same mathematics that their parents and grandparents needed to learn. When today’s students become adults, they will face new demands for mathematical proficiency that school mathematics should attempt to anticipate.  Moreover, mathematics is a realm no longer restricted to a select few. All young Americans must learn to think mathematically, and they must think mathematically to learn. 

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