National Academies Press: OpenBook
« Previous: Introduction
Suggested Citation:"Opening Remarks." National Research Council. 1998. The Nature and Role of Algebra in the K-14 Curriculum: Proceedings of a National Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6286.
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"Opening Remarks." National Research Council. 1998. The Nature and Role of Algebra in the K-14 Curriculum: Proceedings of a National Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6286.
Page 6

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

6 THE NATURE AND ROLE OF ALGEBRA IN THE K-14 CURRICULUM them even more important. Part of the concern now is how we deal with algebra on this test and what this does to the curriculum. These kinds of questions make what we are about here even more important. Algebra is actually just the tip of the iceberg just part of the broader picture of mathematics education that we are thinking about because we are going to have to face some of the same issues in terms of geometry and statistics and measurement. First, though, we have many questions before us about algebra algebra for all, algebra in the eighth grade, how we factor in technology, the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and what it says about how we teach algebra, algebra in the 12th grade, algebra in the first and second grades, algebra at the university level, algebra in community colleges. One thing that I hope comes out of this is the beginning of a coherent vision of what algebra ought to be and look like from grades K through 14. It is exciting because here, at this meeting, we have people from all over the United States and Canada to consider this important topic of algebra. We owe the National Science Foundation a great deal of thanks for sponsoring this symposium by giving a grant to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. We also owe a great deal of thanks to Texas Instruments and to Casio, who have donated money to NCTM to support some of the costs associated with putting on this meeting. On behalf of NCTM, I am very glad to welcome you and to say that I hope we can make this an extremely productive and useful two days. I hope this symposium will advance the national dialogue on how we make a difference in what we do with algebra. I would like to introduce our first speaker today, Hy Bass. Hy is a member of the Mathematics Department at Columbia University and also the Chair of the Mathematical Sciences Education Board, which is housed in the National Academy of Sciences. Hy is going to help us get a glimpse of what algebra looks like from the mathematician's perspective."

Next: Keynote Addresses »
The Nature and Role of Algebra in the K-14 Curriculum: Proceedings of a National Symposium Get This Book
Buy Paperback | $50.00 Buy Ebook | $39.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

With the 1989 release of Everybody Counts by the Mathematical Sciences Education Board (MSEB) of the National Research Council and the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the "standards movement" in K-12 education was launched. Since that time, the MSEB and the NCTM have remained committed to deepening the public debate, discourse, and understanding of the principles and implications of standards-based reform. One of the main tenets in the NCTM Standards is commitment to providing high-quality mathematical experiences to all students. Another feature of the Standards is emphasis on development of specific mathematical topics across the grades. In particular, the Standards emphasize the importance of algebraic thinking as an essential strand in the elementary school curriculum.

Issues related to school algebra are pivotal in many ways. Traditionally, algebra in high school or earlier has been considered a gatekeeper, critical to participation in postsecondary education, especially for minority students. Yet, as traditionally taught, first-year algebra courses have been characterized as an unmitigated disaster for most students. There have been many shifts in the algebra curriculum in schools within recent years. Some of these have been successful first steps in increasing enrollment in algebra and in broadening the scope of the algebra curriculum. Others have compounded existing problems. Algebra is not yet conceived of as a K-14 subject. Issues of opportunity and equity persist. Because there is no one answer to the dilemma of how to deal with algebra, making progress requires sustained dialogue, experimentation, reflection, and communication of ideas and practices at both the local and national levels. As an initial step in moving from national-level dialogue and speculations to concerted local and state level work on the role of algebra in the curriculum, the MSEB and the NCTM co-sponsored a national symposium, "The Nature and Role of Algebra in the K-14 Curriculum," on May 27 and 28, 1997, at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook,'s online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!