Resources: Making Math Personal

The Math Forum
Drexel University’s Math Forum is the best place to go for a deep, multi-perspective immersion in issues connected to mathematics teaching and learning. In addition to an astoundingly large sweep of interactive opportunities for teachers, researchers, parents, and students, the Math Forum features Problems of the Week (math challenges available to all, some with online mentoring assistance, and with extra support services for subscribing Math Forum members), Ask Dr. Math, vast inventories of tools, a “Teacher2Teacher” information exchange program, and a fantastically informative Internet Mathematics Library. Particularly relevant to the focus of this issue of Horace is the work of the Math Forum’s Bridging Research and Practice Group’s “Encouraging Mathematical Thinking: Discourse around a Rich Problem” videopaper, at

TERC’s mission is to research and promote meaningful teaching and learning in mathematics, science, and technology. Most of TERC’s research projects are school-based, and its curriculum, studies, professional development materials, semi-annual newsletter, and multifaceted web site are grounded in the realities of teaching and learning. CES affiliates may be particularly interested in the archived proceedings of the Third Annual Conference on Sustainability of Systemic Reform, an online conference produced as a culmination of a three-year project funded by the National Science Foundation to study “Supporting and Understanding Sustainability in Local Systemic Change.” Rooted in math and science education but encompassing wider arenas of education change, the online record of the conference – particularly Deborah Loewenberg Ball’s keynote address – presents a fascinating, school-based perspective.
Third Annual Conference on Sustainability of Systemic Reform:

National Council for Teachers of Mathematics Principles and Standards for School Mathematics
The National Council for Teachers of Mathematics’ Principles and Standards, now in their third iteration, has strongly influenced the use of standards in curriculum and assessment in math classrooms nationwide. Generally speaking, the NCTM standards have been welcomed and embraced by the “reform” mathematics teaching community and have functioned persuasively for more integrated, constructivist, equitable curriculum. NCTM offers a vast product line centered around the Standards; The Electronic Principles and Standards website offers their content and much more online. The Illuminations website offers lesson plans, learning tools, and other resources to help teachers align curriculum with the standards. While NCTM requires membership to view the published standards (most schools and/or districts are members, and many already have printed versions of the Principles and Standards), its website offers many other resources free of charge.
Electronic Principles and Standards:

Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education
The Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education’s website, ENC Online, comprehensively collects information about mathematics and science curriculum, professional development, internet-based resources, and articles about a range of topics including assessment, equity and diversity, real-world mathematics, implementing technology, and more. Notably well-organized, the site also provides a well-written weekly newsletter called “ENC Focus,” a large set of curriculum ideas, some aligned with a daily calendar for lesson planning and inspiration, and “The Digital Dozen,” a monthly review of stellar math and science web sites. The Standards section,, is a bare-bones, comprehensive collection of national and state math and science standards and frameworks – an essential resource for planning a standards-aligned curriculum.

Trends in Mathematics and Science Study Research
Approximately fifty countries worldwide participate in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), designed to learn through classroom observation what works best in math and science teaching and learning. Conducted on a four-year cycle, TIMSS completed its third round of research and data collection in 2003. These websites offer a range of data-collection materials, descriptions, data, analyses, and conclusions related to the TIMSS effort.
The International Study Center at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College. The most comprehensive TIMSS site; includes links to the 1995, 1999 and 2003 TIMSS studies.
National Center for Education Statistics
This site is an overview, offering TIMSS highlights and results.
LessonLab, Inc.
LessonLab conducted the influential seven-country 1999 TIMSS Video Study that looked at teaching and learning in eighth-grade classrooms.

National Center for Improving Student Learning and Achievement in Mathematics and Science (NCISLA) Based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research, the National Center for Improving Student Learning and Achievement in Mathematics and Science (NCISLA) conducts long-term, school-based studies of how K-12 students learn mathematics and science with understanding. NCISLA produces publications and professional development materials that support its findings, which generally point to the success of highly interactive and personalized content-rich classroom experiences. Its Teacher Resources section is a fast-track entry into its material and greatly helps educators focus on what works in the classroom to promote enduring mathematical and scientific learning.

Lesson Study Group and Lesson Study Research Group These two websites provide overviews of and resources for implementing the practice of lesson study, an collaborative, Japanese-originated approach to teachers’ professional development that grew out of the partnerships that sparked the ongoing TIMSS efforts; it calls for teachers to plan curriculum together, observe each others’ teaching, and evaluate results for ongoing, systematic improvement. A close friend to teacher research and critical friends efforts, lesson study’s structure and outcomes are well-suited to schools organized around the ten Common Principles.
Lesson Study Group at Mills College:
Lesson Study Research Group at Columbia University Teachers College:

Balanced Assessment in Mathematics Project The Balanced Assessment project ran at the Harvard Graduate School of Education from 1993 to 2003, developing and refining in classrooms over 300 innovative, performance based assessments for K-12 learners. The assessments can be evaluated by an accompanying scoring system that covers assessment for individual tasks and larger projects, thus providing a way to evaluate performance-based mathematics assessment across classroom, schools, and districts. The tasks are online and available in print and on cd-rom. The Balanced Assessment in Mathematics Project was conducted under the same National Science Foundation grant that funded similar research at Michigan State, U.C. Berkeley, and England’s Shell Centre for Mathematical Education Publications at the University of Nottingham. See the Mathematics Assessment Resource Service web site for more information about other aspects of the Balanced Assessment work.
Balanced Assessment in Mathematics Project:
Mathematics Assessment Resource Service:

Mathematically Sane
Mathematically Sane collects studies, reports, articles, and other analyses of one point of view in the “math wars”: the controversy about whether reform or back-to-basics approaches best help student’s mathematical mastery. Mathematically Sane comes down emphatically in the reform camp, offering a voluminous show of evidence that supports constructivist, standards-based curriculum as the key to understanding and higher-order thinking. While there’s no curricula per se here, Mathematically Sane is an ideal place to turn to find support for approaches to teaching that make sense in CES schools; it’s deep, well-organized, and tremendously affirming.

Mathematics Education Collaborative
The Mathematics Education Collaborative (MEC) is an advocacy group that aims to promote the cause of “rational reform” in math education, aligning itself to the call for standards based, meaningful curriculum as delineated by the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics and other groups. MEC offers courses for teachers to realign their pedagogy, a library of curriculum and resources, and a long list of books and articles that support various aspects of reform math: the need for teachers to understand math deeply, the weaknesses of high-stakes tests as meaningful assessments, the meaning and significance of quantitative literacy, and the importance of math in the world of work.

The Guide to Math and Science Reform
This online guide, compiled under the auspices of Annenberg/CPB, provides a wide-ranging, searchable database of reform-oriented math and science projects, research, and organizations. Each entry — and there are hundreds — is annotated extensively, including contact information, funding data, project duration, detailed descriptions, and more. Age somewhat limits The Guide to Math and Science Reform’s utility; it appears not to have been updated since 2000. Nevertheless, it includes projects and research from far and wide, on a vast array of subjects and with all age groups. Clicking on the long list of projects is fascinating and addictive, and the list of organizations included in the Guide is a useful index. If you find yourself wondering if anyone has looked into a particular aspect of mathematics or science, a wise first step would be consulting this