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University math vs school board math?

  1. Jul 8, 2013 #1

    Stephen Tashi

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    In another thread (https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=699767) matqkks mentions curriculum changes in calculus and linear algebra:

    My impression of math education (in the USA) is that a few large school districts control what's "mainstream" teaching in secondary mathematics and that university mathematics is decentralized, with each math department making its own decisions about textbooks and curriculum - decisions that are sometimes not obeyed by individual professors!

    That's my impression from 30 years ago. Is the situation the same today? I'd guess that calculus is now often taught in high schools, so perhaps school boards have influence on the organization of that subject.
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  3. Aug 12, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    From the outside looking in - it appears school boards can have a very strong influence on what gets taught in the classroom - the "how" tends to be a bit up for grabs like always. Generally changes in policy just change the paperwork without changing what happens in the classroom. Schools of education have the more widespread effect on actual pedagogy. The study groups and reform mentioned by matqkks would have been more effective at that level.

    Before NCLB the emphasis in education research was on qualitative methods - and would have covered the time periods in the quote. For all it's flaws, NCLB did provide something of a spur for actual evidence-based policy making off quantitative research - so watch for the effects in the next decade.
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