The First Report of the Commission on Post

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The First Report of the Commission on Post
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This resource was developed by CSMC faculty and doctoral
students with support from the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. ESI-0333879. The opinions and
information provided do not necessarily reflect the views of
the National Science Foundation. 3-6-05
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Committees and Reports that Have Influenced
the Changing Mathematics Curriculum
This set of PowerPoint slides is one of a series of resources
produced by the Center for the Study of Mathematics
Curriculum. These materials are provided to facilitate greater
understanding of mathematics curriculum change and
permission is granted for their educational use.
Commission on Post-War Plans
First Report • 1944, Second Report • 1945
Guidance Report • 1947
http://www.mathcurriculumcenter.org
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2
Commission on Post-War Plans
Appointed by the National Council of
Teachers of Mathematics Board of Directors
February 25, 1944
Reports published in The Mathematics Teacher
First Report: May, 1944
Second Report: May, 1945
Guidance Report: November, 1947
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Need for Improvement
• World War II revealed marked deficiencies in the
mathematical preparation of inductees.
• Many problems related to school mathematics detailed
in pre-war reports had been largely ignored due to the
ongoing war.
• A new type of utilitarianism that focused on vocational
preparation for the majority of students threatened the
discipline-based unified school mathematics
curriculum.
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Members of the Commission on
Post-War Plans: First Report
Raleigh Schorling (Chair)
University High School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
William Betz
Specialist in Mathematics, Rochester Public Schools,
New York
Eugenie C. Hausle
James Monroe High School, Bronx, New York
Rolland R. Smith
Coordinator of Mathematics, Springfield Public Schools,
Massachusetts
F. Lynwood Wren
Wren George Peabody College for Teachers
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The First Report of the
Commission on Post-War Plans
Report offered five tentative proposals aimed at the
improvement of secondary school mathematics.
Proposal 1: The school should ensure mathematical
literacy to all who can possibly achieve it.
Mathematical literacy was seen as important as the
ability to communicate, and that the function of
mathematics was largely identical with that of reading
and writing.
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The First Report of the
Commission on Post-War Plans
Proposal 2: We should differentiate on the basis of
needs, without stigmatizing any group, and we
should provide new and better courses for a high
fraction of the schools’ population whose
mathematical needs are not well met in the traditional
sequential courses.
A three-track program to be differentiated
according to students’ needs was proposed:
sequential mathematics, related mathematics, and
social mathematics.
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The First Report of the
Commission on Post-War Plans
Proposal 3: We need a completely new approach to the
problem of the so called slow learning student.
A different curriculum and a laboratory or workshop
setting for slow learners was suggested.
Proposal 4: The teaching of arithmetic can be and
should be improved.
More time spent on arithmetic in the early grades as
well as better-trained teachers and continued
attention to arithmetic in later grades was proposed.
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The First Report of the
Commission on Post-War Plans
Proposal 5: The sequential courses should be greatly
improved.
Improvement of the sequential mathematics track
by providing better trained teachers, updating
materials that include a wide variety of
applications, and appropriately placing students in
the correct courses was recommended.
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Members of the Commission on
Post-War Plans: Second Report
Raleigh Schorling
Chairman, University High School,
Ann Arbor, Michigan
William Betz
Specialist in Mathematics, Rochester
Public Schools, New York
Eugenie C. Hausle
James Monroe High School,
Bronx, New York
Rolland Smith
Coordinator of Mathematics,
Springfield Public Schools,
Massachusetts
F. Lynwood Wren
George Peabody College for
Teachers
William A. Brownell
Duke University
Virgil S. Mallory
State Teachers College,
Montclair, New Jersey
Mary Potter
Supervisor of Mathematics,
Racine, Wisconsin
William L. Schaaf
Brooklyn College
Ruth Sumner
President, Mathematics Section,
State Teachers Association,
Oakland, California
James H. Zant
Oklahoma State University of
Agriculture and Applied Science
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The Second Report of the
Commission on Post-War Plans
• Focused on improvement of mathematics instruction
from elementary school through junior college as well as
teacher education.
• Offered a series of 34 theses covering grades 1-14 that
were to serve as “tentative guides.”
• The first thesis was intended for all grades:
“the school should guarantee functional competence in
mathematics to all who can possibly achieve it.”
28 different mathematical topics to be included in a
“core mathematics curriculum” were identified.
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Seven Theses for Grades 1-6
• Discard the idea of arithmetic as a mere tool subject.
• Conceive of arithmetic as having both a mathematical
and social aim.
• Give more emphasis and attention to the development of
meanings.
• Abandon the idea that arithmetic can be taught
incidentally or informally.
• Realize that readiness for learning arithmetical ideas and
skills is the product of relevant experience, not the effect
of becoming older.
• Learn to administer drill (repetitive practice) much more
wisely.
• Comprehensively evaluate learning in arithmetic.
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Three Theses for Grades 7-8
• Make the mathematical program of grades 7 and 8 the
same for all normal pupils, providing:
— An adequate, organic continuation of work from
grades 1-6.
— A substantial beginning in achieving functional
competence.
— A dependable foundation for subsequent courses in
mathematics.
• Build the mathematics for grades 7 and 8 around a few
broad categories.
— Number and computation; geometry of everyday life;
graphic representation; elementary algebra.
• Organize the mathematics program of grades 7 and 8 to
enable the pupils to achieve mathematical maturity and
power.
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Two Theses for Grade 9
• Provide a double track in mathematics in grade 9:
algebra for some and general mathematics for the
rest.
— Enrollment based on ability and long-term goals.
— Teachers warned not to degrade those who enroll
in the general mathematics course.
• Evaluate algebra in terms of good practice.
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Seven Theses for Grades 10-12
• Reserve the sequential courses for students who have the
ability, the desire, or the need for such work.
• Emphasize functional competence in the traditional sequential
courses.
• Develop mathematical power in the sequential courses.
• Organize each year into a few large units built around key
concepts and fundamental principles.
• Include simple and sensible applications in the sequential
courses.
• Provide for the population whose mathematical needs are not
well met in the traditional sequential courses.
• Provide a better program in mathematics in small high
schools.
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Three Theses for Junior Colleges
• Offer at least one year of mathematics which is general
in appeal, flexible in purpose, challenging in content and
functional in service.
• Provide for a one-year pre-vocational course in
mathematics.
• Make ample provision for the student with a major
interest in mathematics.
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Two Theses for Education of
Teachers of Mathematics in Grades 16
• Demonstrate competence over the whole range of subject
matter which may be taught.
— Competence assured by making a “satisfactory score on
an acceptable examination.”
• Have special course work in content and pedagogy, including:
— Theory and background of elementary mathematics;
important applications, supplementary instructional
equipment, methods of teaching, student teaching,
procedures for comprehensive evaluations; and research
literature.
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Seven Theses for Education of
Teachers of Mathematics in Grades 912
• Have a wide background in the subjects he may teach.
• Have a sound background in related fields.
• Have adequate training in the teaching of mathematics,
including arithmetic.
• Have professionalized courses in mathematics.
• Acquire a background of experience in practical fields
where mathematics is used.
• Have a college minor in mathematics as a minimum to
teach in a small high school.
• Have continuous education (for teachers in service).
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Two Theses for the Use of
Multi-sensory Aids in
Mathematics Teaching
• Give careful consideration to the possibilities of multisensory aids, including:
— Motion pictures, film strips and slides, graphic charts
and pictures, models and other equipment, and
recordings.
• Be given competent guidance in the production,
selection, and the use of slide films.
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Members of the Commission on
Post-War Plans: Guidance Report
Raleigh Schorling, chair, University of
Michigan
William Betz, Rochester, New York
Public Schools
William A. Brownell, Duke University
Walter H. Carnahan, Purdue
University
Eugenie C. Huasle, New York City
Public Schools
Virgil S. Mallory, Montclair Teachers
College
C. V. Newsom, Oberlin College
Mary Potter, Racine,
Wisconsin Public Schools
H. Vernon Price, University
High School, Iowa City,
Iowa
William L. Schaaf, Brooklyn
College
Rolland R. Smith, Springfield
MA, Public Schools
Ruth Sumner, Oakland, CA
Public Schools
F. Lynwood Wren, George
Peabody College for
Teachers
James Zant,
Oklahoma A & M College
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Guidance Report of the
Commission on Post-War Plans
• Spoke directly to high school students, guidance
counselors, parents and administrators.
• Sought to counsel students regarding high school
courses and career choices describing occupations in
which mathematics is important.
• Informed students of both the kind of mathematics used
in certain careers and the mathematics required to
prepare for that career.
• Sought to help students answer the question “Why
should I study mathematics?”
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Guidance Report Checklist
• Report contained a checklist of 29 key concepts that identified
how much and what kinds of mathematics are a “must” for
every citizen in everyday life. The list included:
— Computation: Can you add, subtract, multiply, and divide
effectively with whole numbers, common fractions, and
decimals?
— Estimating: Before you perform a computation, do you
estimate the result for the purpose of checking your
answer?
— Statistics: Can you use average (mean, median, mode)?
Can you draw and interpret a graph?
— Metric system: Do you know how to use the most
important metric units?
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Guidance Report of the
Commission on Post-War Plans
Report was organized into sections based on use of
mathematics:
• Mathematics for Personal Use
• Mathematics used by Trained Workers
• Mathematics for College Preparation
• Mathematics for Professional Workers
• Women in Mathematics
• Mathematics used by Civil Service Workers
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Significance of the
Commission Reports on Post-War
Plans
• Provided recommendations for different grade levels,
including a core mathematics curriculum and checklist of
mathematical competencies expected of every citizen.
• Urged special attention to slow learners and stronger
teacher preparation and in-service development.
• Proposed a different mathematics curriculum for
secondary schools (sequential, related, and social)
depending on students needs.
• The recommendations failed to move a reform agenda
forward even though the educational and social
atmosphere was ripe for change.
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References
Osborne, R. A., & Crosswhite, F. J. (1970). A history of
mathematics education in the United States and Canada
(pp. 243-246). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics.
Commission on Post-War Plans of the NCTM
First Report of the Commission on Post-War Plans. (1944,
May). Mathematics Teacher, pp. 225-232.
Second Report of the Commission on Post-War Plans.
(1945, May). Mathematics Teacher, pp. 195-221.
Guidance Report of the Commission on Post-War Plans.
(1947, November). Mathematics Teacher, pp. 315-339.
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