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Research on Mathematics Education

Grover J. (Russ) Whitehurst, Ph.D.


Director
Institute of Education Sciences
United States Department of Education
Achievement
NAEP 2000 Proficiency
Proficient Below Basic Below Basic Af Am

80

60

40

20

0
4th Grade 8th Grade 12th Grade
TIMSS Math 1995
U.S. rank order

80

60

40

20

0
4th Grade 8th Grade 12th Grade
Declared Major
4-year colleges
9
8
7
6
Life Sci
5
% Engineer
4 Phy Sci
3 Math
2
1
0
1995-96 1999-2000
Tracking and Grouping
Assessment for Instruction
Structured Peer Feedback
The Math Wars
Constructivist Approaches Skills-based Approaches
Knowledge is constructed Knowledge is imparted
Children should develop Children should master
their own understanding standard facts & concepts
Authentic problems Skill-relevant problems
Intrinsically motivated Extrinsically motivated
Conceptual Understanding
Decimal Fractions

509 > 7

.509 < .7
Decimal Fractions

0.509
?

____________________
0 1
Checks on Constructivism
• Many routes to understanding
• Limits on working memory
• Inefficiency of discovery
• Role of work in learning
700

660

620
Average mathematics score

J apan
580

540

500
U.S.
460

420

380

340

300
South Africa
260

220
1.6 1.8 2 2.2 2.4 2.6 2.8 3 3.2 3.4 3.6

Average on liking mathematics scale


Curriculum
Constructivist Math – 3 States
Constructivist Business-as-usual

100
% of possible points

80

60

40

20

0
IL Grd 3 IL Grd 5 MA Grd 4 WA Grd 3 WA Grd 4
Implementation
Af. Am. White

80
70
60
exam score

50
40
30
20
10
0
weak implement strong implement
Alignment
NAEP
20
18
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
Nation Texas North Carolina

4th Grade Math Gains: 1992 to 2000


Elements of State Math Reforms
• State-wide standards
• Linked state-wide assessments
• Accountability for results
Putting It Together
Classroom-based assessment +
Structured peer feedback +
Tracking -
Understanding +
Direct instruction +-?
Discovery +-?
Authentic problems +-?
Work and practice +
Curriculum ?
Implementation +
System alignment +