children bring to school. An integrated approach should be taken to the development of proficiency with whole numbers, integers, and rational numbers to ensure that all students in grades pre-K to 8 can use the numbers fluently and flexibly to solve challenging but accessible problems. Students should also understand and be able to translate within and across the various common representations for numbers.
A major focus of the study of number should be the conceptual bases for the operations and how they relate to real situations. For each operation, all students should understand and be able to carry out an algorithm that is general and efficient. Before they get to the formal study of algebra, they already should have had numerous experiences in representing, abstracting, and generalizing relationships among numbers and operations with numbers. They should be introduced to these algebraic ways of thinking well before they are expected to be proficient in manipulating algebraic symbols. They also need to learn concepts of space, measure, data, and chance in ways that link these domains to that of number.
Materials for instruction need to develop the core content of school mathematics in depth and with continuity. In addition to helping students learn, these materials should also support teachers’ understanding of mathematical concepts, of students’ thinking, and of effective pedagogical techniques. Mathematics assessments need to enable and not just gauge the development of proficiency. All elements of curriculum, instruction, materials, and assessment should be aligned toward common learning goals.
Every school should be organized so that the teachers are just as much learners as the students are. The professional development activities in which teachers of mathematics are engaged need to be focused on mathematical proficiency. Just as mathematical proficiency demands the integrated, coordinated development of all strands, so the enhancement of each student’s opportunities to become proficient requires the integrated, coordinated efforts of all parts of the educational community.
Efforts to improve students’ mathematics learning should be informed by scientific evidence, and their effectiveness should be evaluated systematically. Such efforts should be coordinated, continual, and cumulative.
Steady and continuing improvements in students’ mathematics learning can be made only if decisions about instruction are based on the best available information. As new, systematically collected information becomes available,