Illinois State University Mathematics Department

MAT 223: Introduction to Secondary Mathematics Education



Principles and Standards for School Mathematics: Overview (Chapters 1 and 2)


In April 2000, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the world's largest organization of mathematics teachers, unveiled its Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (PSSM). A draft of that document circulated for more than a year as NCTM sought feedback to help prepare the final version.

This assignment, the first of several assignments associated with PSSM, is intended to help you get a bit of background for the basis of the document.

The first chapter of PSSM outlines what the rest of the document contains and the second chapter describes six guiding principles that form the foundation for the curriculum standards that make up the remaining chapters of the document.

For next week's class, please complete the following tasks. Completing these tasks will help you know what the current views and positions are of a major professional organization within your intended or potential career and give us a common framework from which to continue our introduction to teaching and learning school mathematics, and to extend it in future courses.

Task #1. Read Chapter 1. Within the chapter, the authors describe:

  • The Need for Mathematics in a Changing World
  • The Need for Continued Improvement of Mathematics Education
  • The Role and Purpose of Standards

Write a few sentences to summarize what the authors are stating or claiming in each of these three areas.

Task #2. Read Chapter 2. Here, the authors describe six guiding principles for school mathematics teaching and learning.

For each principle, write one paragraph to summarize the main points of that principle.

Task #3. Rank order the six guiding principles in chapter 2 from most important to least important for teaching and learning school mathematics.

Write one or two paragraphs to justify your ranking.

Be prepared to discuss your responses to all of these tasks and to turn in your responses, word processed or typed, when class begins next week. Your submission will be evaluated based on clarity, accuracy, and completeness of response. Please see me with any questions you might have.