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For Release: July 2, 2002


FACT SHEET   July 2, 2002

 Mathematics

In mathematics, the standards are now more closely aligned with those of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, which were recently revised.

Summary

The vision of excellent mathematical education is based on the twin premises that all students can learn mathematics and that all students need to learn mathematics. The mathematics standards were designed not as minimum standards, but rather as world-class standards which will enable all students to compete in the global marketplace of the 21st century.

The vision of success for all students in mathematics depends on:

  • establishing learning environments that facilitate student learning of mathematics;
  • making a commitment to equity and to excellence; and
  • defining the critical goals of mathematics education today--what students should know and be able to do (i.e., content and processes).

The mathematics standards are intended to be a definition of excellent practice, and a description of what can be achieved if all New Jersey communities rally behind the standards, so that the excellent practice becomes common practice.

Background

Since the new assessments were adopted, a Mathematics Curriculum Framework was developed and new assessments were introduced to reflect the new standards.

The mathematics standards adopted in 1996 were philosophically aligned with the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 1989), but went beyond that document in a number of ways, reflecting national discussions of that document between 1989 and 1996 and taking into consideration conditions specific to New Jersey. In, 2000, NCTM published a new document, Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.

Recommendations Incorporated in Standards

The panel that drafted the revised standards reviewed many of the state standards as well as Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM, 2000). The panel also took into consideration a review of New Jersey’s 1996 standards prepared by Achieve, Inc. The panel kept in mind two important principles:

  1. Retain the content of the current standards and the structure of the current assessments, so that the standards will not be a major departure from what is currently expected of students.
  2. Revise the presentation of the standards, so that teachers will find them easier to understand and implement, and so that standards and assessments are better aligned.

The content of the new mathematics standards is therefore largely the same as the previous version. However, the new standards are different in that:

  • They are more specific and clearer than the previous standards;
  • They are organized into a smaller number of standards that correspond to the content clusters of the statewide assessments;
  • They are intended to serve as clear guides to the assessment development committees so that there should be no gaps between the standards and the test specifications; and
  • They include expectations at grades 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7, as well as at grades 4, 8, and 12.