Over the past decade, thousands of school districts around the country have implemented mathematics curricula based on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics. These Standards, first published in 1989 and revised in 2000, laid out a new vision for the teaching and learning of mathematics, and prompted the development of new curricula at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. A new book by EDC editors Shirley Lee, June Mark, Deborah Spencer, and Kristin Winkler reports on the experiences of schools that are successfully using these Standards-based programs.
The three volumes of Perspectives on Curricular Change: Interviews with Teachers, Administrators, and Curriculum Developers look at how individual school districts have chosen and implemented these curricula—and what they have learned in the process. A collection of thoughtful reflections by teachers, administrators, and developers, Perspectives includes the developers’ accounts of each curriculum’s history, content, and pedagogy, as well as concrete examples of how individual districts developed processes for choosing new curricula and how teachers have worked with them.
Although the individual curricula differ somewhat in style and emphasis, all Standards-based math teaching and learning create new expectations for students and teachers. The stories in Perspectives demonstrate that commitment from all stakeholders is required for the successful adoption of a reform math curriculum. They repeatedly point to the need for strategic thinking—from planning how to introduce a new curriculum and aligning it with district goals and resources, to meeting the needs of classroom teachers for timely and ongoing support.
“The Perspectives capture the experiences of real users of these math curricula,” explains Kristin Winkler. “Through the voices of actual teachers and administrators, readers get a glimpse into classrooms and schools where these programs are improving student learning in mathematics and supporting teachers in changing their teaching practice.”
Originally published on August 1, 2001