improving their mathematics programs. The study described early efforts at mathematics education change, some of which were initiated before standards were available. The R3M findings indicated that the pedagogical elements of standards were taking hold in classrooms in more visible ways than the mathematical elements and that standards documents were used more for validation than for direction in some early implementation efforts (Ferrini-Mundy & Schram, 1997).

Various organizations have studied questions of the overall effects of standards-based reform (Consortium for Policy Research in Education, 1996; Massell et al., 1997). The findings generally are that such reforms are slow to take hold in substantial ways in schools. In very specific projects that have introduced interventions in schools that might be considered standards-based, there is a trend of evidence of improved student achievement (Campbell, 1995; Cobb et al., 1991; Hiebert & Wearne, 1993; Stein & Lane, 1996; Stein, Lane, & Silver, 1996). Results of evaluations of the new NSF-funded mathematics curriculum projects, including the Interactive Mathematics Project (Webb & Dowling, 1996, 1997) and the Connected Mathematics Project (Hoover, Zawojewski, & Ridgeway, 1997), indicate strong achievement on both traditional and reformist assessment measures. The NCTM and MSEB have worked collaboratively over the years to consider the question of monitoring, although no comprehensive effort has ever been undertaken. The MSEB will be involved in a new project of the NRC's Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education, called Efficacy and Influence, that focuses on the national mathematics and science standards, and possibly those for technology, geography, and health. The first stage of this project will be to conceptualize a framework and perspective for addressing the question of how to study the effects of standards-based reform. The NRC will work with other researchers and evaluators who are studying the standards-related effort to consider how information collected annually might feed directly into improvement and revision efforts. A synthesis report will be produced in mathematics.


In 1994, the NCTM Board of Directors charged a Commission on the Future of the Standards to plan the review and updating of the NCTM Standards. The April 1996 report of the Commission called for a revision of the Standards documents to be released in the year 2000. The new document should preserve the main messages of the original Standards, while bringing together the "classroom" parts of the three Standards documents into a single document. A major part of the revision process involves an organized strategy for working with other professional organizations. In the initial phases of the revision process, several prominent professional organizations were invited to form "Association Review Groups." These groups have been invited by the Commission and the Writing Group leaders to respond to specific questions about the format and substance of the NCTM Standards, in an effort to obtain the field's sense of what is needed in revision. The first questions posed to the Association Review Groups were:

  1. Do the current statements of the Standards adequately communicate your view of the discipline?

  2. Do the Standards convey a sense of consistency and growth in content themes as the student moves across the grade levels?

  3. Do the Standards adequately reflect the needs of a student graduating in the 21st century and the needs of a student planning postsecondary study in a mathematics-related discipline?

  4. What suggestions can you make for blending content, teaching, and assessment?

A second round of questions has focused on issues of algorithms and proof. Responses from the mathematics and mathematics education communities vary widely, and all criticisms

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