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Mathematics Curriculum Framework
Achieving Mathematical Power - January 1996


Developing the Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework

Achieving Mathematical Power is based upon two reform initiatives in Massachusetts, the Education Reform Act of 1993 and Partnerships Advancing the Learning of Mathematics and Science (PALMS). PALMS is the Statewide Systemic Initiative, a collaborative effort jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which began in 1992. Of the seven initial goals for this initiative, the first was to develop, disseminate, and implement curriculum frameworks in Mathematics and Science and Technology. In January 1993, a set of recommendations for PreK-8 frameworks was produced by consultants from TERC, a research and development corporation based in Cambridge. Their work was reviewed by the PALMS Curriculum Framework Advisory Committee, and formed the basis for the later drafts of the mathematics and the science and technology frameworks. With the passage of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act in June 1993 and additional funding from the U.S. Department of Education, development of the curriculum frameworks was extended to include grades 9-12 and Adult Basic Education.

The creation of the mathematics framework was a collaborative endeavor among members of the Framework Development Committee--teachers, school and district administrators, mathematicians, college faculty, parents, and representatives of business and community organizations across the state. A majority of the members are currently classroom teachers who have extensive experience teaching mathematics at elementary, middle, and high school levels. Committee meetings were convened to consider each draft framework from the standpoints of clarity, accessibility, consistency, pedagogy, mathematical correctness, and alignment with the Massachusetts Common Core of Learning and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Curriculum and Evaluation Standards.

The core concept of Achieving Mathematical Power is that students develop mathematical power through problem solving, communication, reasoning and connections. The mathematics framework is more than a collection of concepts and skills. For each individual it involves methods of investigating and reasoning, means of communication, notions of context, and development of personal self-confidence. The framework provides quality and equity for all learners. The Guiding Principles and Habits of Mind of this framework outline ways in which this can become a reality.

The Mathematics Content section presents an outline upon which district and school curricula, instruction, and assessment can be developed. This section is organized into four strands, within which learning standards are articulated. Examples of student learning, vignettes, models, diagrams, and graphics contextualize and enhance the standards. It is a curricula for all that includes a broad range of content, a variety of contexts, and deliberate connections. The goals for all learners in the Massachusetts mathematics framework are that they value mathematics, become confident in their ability to know and to do mathematics, become mathematical problem solvers, and learn to reason and communicate mathematically.

Last Updated: January 1, 1996
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