common patterns of practice (Weiss, 1978, 1987; Weiss et al., 1994; Stake and Easley, 1978; Stigler and Hiebert, 1999). The nationally developed NCTM, NRC, and ITEA standards are addressed in the following sections, with emphasis on their scope, interrelationships, and commonality of vision.


In 1985, NCTM funded a group of its members—including teachers, researchers, and higher education representatives involved in mathematics teacher education—to create standards for K-12 mathematics. The resulting Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM, 1989) provided classroom teachers, school mathematics coordinators, and curriculum developers with a vision and guidance for shaping content, instruction, and assessment within K-12 mathematics programs. NCTM standards called for content changes that reflected changing needs in an increasingly technological world, such as the inclusion of statistics, probability, and discrete mathematics in K-12 curricula. The document also specified standards for problem-solving, communicating, reasoning, and making connections—that is, portraying mathematics as something that is done, not just a body of material to be memorized.

NCTM followed the release of curriculum standards with publication of Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics (1991) and Assessment Standards for School Mathematics (1995). These documents emphasized that, in addition to appropriate student learning goals, appropriate teaching and assessment were critical components of an effective mathematics program.

In 1995, in response to what had been learned since the publication of the first set of standards, new research in teaching and learning, and the increased sophistication and power of technology, NCTM began work on updating the mathematics standards. The new document, Principles and Standards for School Mathematics

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