Distinguishing Fads from Best Practice
Mathematics is characterised by its intolerance of nonsense -- Owen Thomas

Topics on this page
| Method | Standards | NCTM | Government | Politics | Organizations | Text reviews | Fad Jargon | Humor | Books Links |

The Ten Things

On Method

Starting in 1968, the U.S. government funded a huge study called Project Follow-Through. It cost a billion dollars and ran almost thirty years. The purpose was to examine how different teachng methods or philosophies affected student performance. What they found was that the traditional *Direct instruction* method was the most effective. Are you familiar with this study?
From Notices of the AMS January 1998 *Interview with Gail Burrill*
More on Project Follow Through and Effective School Practices

*Experts Attack Math Teaching Programs, LA Times 11/18/99

*Outcomes Analysis for Core Plus Students: One Year Later, by R. James Milgram, Department of Mathematics Stanford University

*How should we group to achieve excellence with equity? By Bonnie Grossen, Ph.D

Mathematics Standards

California Standards

*California Standards and Assessments, by R. James Milgram and Veronica Norris

More on Standards

*Orange, CA. News from Orange Unified--the Board of Education adopted the new California math standards (and the language standards) by a 7-0 vote July 9th, 1998. There was some discussion about how much money this is going to cost the district but there was no real dissent. Our standards advisory committee is thrilled, but we realized this is only the first step. We are now putting together a comprehensive plan regarding what needs to happen next.

*Mathematically Correct and the Wilson administration have called on the district to incorporate the state's recently implemented traditional math standards into its integrated math curricula instead, and the district should accede to the request." - Los Angeles Times Editorial on LAUSD, A Too-Hasty Math Move.

NCTM Standards

* The Truth About The Revised NCTM Standards Arithmetic is Still Missing!

*MAA Task Force on the NCTM Standards 2000 Project.

* The AMS and Mathematics Education: The Revision of the "NCTM Standards", by Roger Howe, Notices of the AMS, Feb 1998. A PDF File. If you need a PDF viewer Free software is available for all platforms


*A Letter from the Secretary of Education.

The key to understanding mathematics is taking algebra or courses covering algebraic concepts by the end of the 8th grade. Achievement at that stage gives students an important advantage in taking rigorous high school mathematics and science courses. However, many 8th and 9th graders may already be behind in their course selection to get on the road to college. Some students do not have access to rigorous mathematics courses -- either because their school does not offer everyone a full selection of challenging courses, or because not all students are prepared for and encouraged to enroll. The results of the recent Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) confirm that many students enter high school without a solid grounding in mathematics, closing doors very early for further education and better careers.

Students, parents and educators should review this important report and understand the significance of a solid foundation in mathematics as a key to college and career success.

Richard W. Riley

*Searching For The Truth About The TIMSS 4th Grade Math Test

The politics of mathematics

*The Dumb-Down Train, by Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle

*Man of Science Has a Problem With Real Math, by Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle

*Freedom Rings -- If Only For Bureaucrats, by Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle

* Few Benefits from Regional Education Labs, National Center for Policy Analysis

*Mr. Educrat: Tear Down That Wall, by Debra J. Saunders, SF Chronicle, July 28, 1998

*What Is an Educrat? by Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle

Public and private organizations

*National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
*American Mathematical Society
*California State Board of Education
*The National Center for Education Statistics

Know Your Math Fad Jargon

New Math, New New Math, Mickey Mouse Math, Fuzzy Math, Reform Math, Whole Math, Constructivism Math, Complete Math, Balanced Math etc ...... See Glossary of Terms.


*Outcome-Based Basketball
*The Evolution of Teaching
*Smoothing out the bumps in the *92* Framework
*Outcome cartoon