. "NCTM and the National Standards for Mathematics Education." Improving Student Learning in Mathematics and Science: The Role of National Standards in State Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1997.
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Improving Student Learning in Mathematics and Science: The Role of National Standards in State Policy
For the NCTM Standards documents to have influence in the field, it was clear that there was a need to have illustrations and examples of how the ideas of the documents could be brought to life in classrooms. The Addenda Project was initiated in 1988 to "provide teaching lessons to exemplify the Standards" (McLeod et al., 1996). NCTM's efforts to provide assistance to the field in the area of interpretation also occurred through its journals and conventions. A journal for middle school teachers, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, was initiated by NCTM, and the journal for elementary teachers was renamed from the Arithmetic Teacher to Teaching Children Mathematics, thus reflecting the enriched content emphasis of the NCTM Standards for elementary students. Each journal devoted a standing column to understanding the Standards, and special focus issues were produced dealing with standards topics such as data analysis or discrete mathematics. Review criteria for selection of articles for the NCTM school-level journals included alignment with the Standards. (This criterion is currently under discussion.) Sessions at the regional and annual meetings held by the Council were focused on standards themes. A cadre of NCTM leaders were trained in making standards-based presentations.
While NCTM initiated the types of interpretation activities appropriate for a large professional reorganization, other entities were again part of the process. The MSEB produced On the Shoulders of Giants (Steen, 1990) and Measuring Up (NRC, 1993b) to help teachers understand and think about assessment in ways consistent with the NCTM Standards. On the Shoulders of Giants provided a new way for mathematics educators to think deeply about content issues raised in the NCTM Standards. Measuring Up offered insights and examples of assessment tools that are aligned with the NCTM Standards. Textbook publishers chose to incorporate standards ideas in a variety of ways. Beginning in 1991, the NSF funded several major curriculum development projects at the elementary, middle and secondary levels in mathematics that were to be standards-based. As these projects are just now nearing completion, the field will soon have a set of examples of curricular interpretations of the NCTM Standards. As of 1996, forty states had content standards for mathematics based on their interpretations of the NCTM Standards and many are aligning assessment programs with these standards (Council of Chief State School Officers, 1996a, 1997a). Since 1990, the frameworks used in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have been adjusted to reflect elements of the NCTM Standards, including emphasis on "mathematical power," "reasoning," and ''communication" (Reese, Miller, Mazzeo, & Dossey, 1997).
A by-product of these various interpretations of standards is that the field has more specific examples of what standards-based practice might mean. Mathematicians, in particular, are now becoming increasingly aware of the role that the Standards can play and are taking special interest in the revision of the NCTM Standards.
The NCTM is not positioned to "implement the Standards." Rather, the role of the organization is to provide leadership in thinking about implementation, to serve as an organizational focus and catalyst for the ideas of others, and to facilitate interaction between members in their attempts at implementation.
Prior to the release of the NCTM Standards, each major committee of the Council was charged to present a set of possible projects or initiatives that would promote implementation of the Standards. The NCTM Board selected several of these options and supported the development of plans that were then carried out by NCTM members through their home institutions, with funding from a variety of sources.