
Created by Executive Order,The National Mathematics Advisory Panel was asked to use the “best available scientific evidence” and recommend ways to improve the mathematics education of American students. The National Mathematics Advisory Panel's Final Report: Foundations For Success, was published in March 2008 and is the product of over two years of hard work by a very diversified panel consisting of leaders in mathematics, mathematics education, and cognitive psychology
A Few of the Final Report's Key Findings and Recommendations:
* A focused, coherent progression of mathematics learning, with an emphasis on proficiency with key topics, should become the norm in elementary and middle school mathematics curricula. Any approach that continually revisits topics year after year without closure is to be avoided.
* Students should understand key concepts, achieve automaticity as appropriate (e.g., with addition and related subtraction facts), develop flexible, accurate, and automatic execution of the standard algorithms, and use these competencies to solve problems.
* Emphasize student mastery, accuracy, and automatic execution of the standard algorithm and fluency with fractions (including decimals, percentages, and negative fractions).
* The Panel cautions that to the degree that calculators impede the development of automaticity, fluency in computation will be adversely affected.
* Mathematicians should be included in greater numbers, along with mathematics educators, mathematics education researchers, curriculum specialists, classroom teachers, and the general public, in the standardsetting process and in the review and design of mathematical test items for state, NAEP, and commercial tests.
More From the National Math Advisory Panel
"Report of the Task Group on Conceptual Knowledge and Skills"
Excerpt: "Computational facility rests on the automatic recall of addition and related subtraction facts, and of multiplication and related division facts. It requires fluency with the standard algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Fluent use of the algorithms not only depends on the automatic recall of number facts but also reinforces it."
"Before they begin algebra course work, middle school students should have a thorough understanding of positive as well as negative fractions."
"The coherence and sequential nature of mathematics dictate the foundational skills that are necessary for the learning of algebra. By the nature of algebra, the most important foundational skill is proficiency with fractions (including decimals,percent, and negative fractions). The teaching of fractions must be acknowledged as critically important and improved before an increase in student achievement in Algebra can be expected."
"International studies show that highachieving nations teach for mastery in a few topics, in comparison with the U.S. milewideinchdeep curriculum. A coherent progression, with an emphasis on mastery of key topics, should become the norm in elementary and middle school mathematics curricula. There should be a deemphasis on a spiral approach in mathematics that continually revisits topics year after year without closure."
"The quality of a state’s assessments and the extent to which its standards drive sound school curricula, as well as appropriate programs for teacher preparation and professional development, are intervening variables that strongly influence achievement. To prepare students for Algebra, the curriculum must simultaneously develop conceptual understanding, computational fluency, and problemsolving skills." http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/mathpanel/report/conceptualknowledge.pdf "h
"How to Strengthen K12 Mathematics Education in Massachusetts:
Implications of the NMAP's Final Report"
This report applies to most U.S. states, including Pennsylvania
Newspaper Articles About the Final Report: NMAP Articles 
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