. "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
and suggestions will be considered seriously in the revision process.
The Commission also has gathered input from NCTM members at focus groups held at regional and annual meetings. Several resource and advisory groups are being identified to support the writers and the process with specific expertise and input.
The revision is a highly publicized process within the mathematics education community. The Commission has indicated that, in this version, the grades should be divided into four grade bands: Pre-K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12+. The finer grade-band divisions will allow for more specific focus on goals for students in these grades. The Writing Group faces interesting challenges in trying to preserve the main messages of the original NCTM Standards while attempting to look forward into the 21st century and seeking consensus across a field that is quite diverse in its views. The conflicts that are listed by Kirst and Bird (1996) relative to the development of content standards are especially useful for states and for national organizations to consider. Some highlights of their list include:
Who must be involved in the process to feel it is inclusive? Students? Business? If you exclude groups, this will lead to charges of bias. If you include every group that is suggested, this will lead to a cumbersome and slow process.
If you choose standards that achieve a broad consensus in the field, the "leading edge thinkers" will object. You will be accused of certifying "what is" rather than "what ought to be.''
If you choose a standard that achieves consensus in the field you will not be able to satisfy demands for "less is more"-consensus expands topics rather than reducing them. (Kirst & Bird, 1996, p. 31)
The NCTM Standards revision marks a new phase in the standards movement. Reflection on the revision process will be important to its effectiveness. The revision provides new opportunities for a professional organization to design ways of building consensus and looking forward for the improvement of mathematics education.
Perhaps of greatest significance in the NCTM story is the ground-breaking initiation of the standards movement. Not only did mathematics teachers have ready access to the NCTM Standards, but they were championed by national proponents such as Governor Roy Romer of Colorado and Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon. The stage was set for national focus on standards.