Academic journal article New Waves

Navigating the Seas of Mathematics Education: New Waves in Research to Improve Student Learning

Academic journal article New Waves

Navigating the Seas of Mathematics Education: New Waves in Research to Improve Student Learning

Article excerpt

This issue focuses on research in the domain of mathematics education. Although mathematics has been a subject of study for many centuries, mathematics education is a relatively new field of scholarly inquiry, having been established as an independent field of research only in the early twentieth century. The most significant milestone was the establishment of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) in 1908. Since 1969, ICMI has organized the International Congress on Mathematical Education, a quadrennial international meeting whose aim is to present the current states and trends in mathematics education research and in the practice of mathematics teaching at all levels.

In its first century, the field of mathematics education has prospered, particularly so in the past four decades. As a field of study, mathematics education deals with theories, practices, policies, curriculum, and issues regarding the teaching and learning of mathematics. It is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field, adopting methods and perspectives from other disciplines such as psychology and education to study issues in mathematics education. Research in mathematics education is quite varied, ranging from studies of young children to adults, from large-scale experimental designs to single-subject case studies, from local studies in a single classroom or school to international studies that stretch across the globe, and from studies by a single researcher to studies by researchers collaborating across nations.

In recent years, mathematics education has found its way into daily conversation, not simply due to intrinsic importance, but also because of large-scale efforts to reform mathematics teaching and learning and widely-publicized results of international comparative studies of mathematics performance. Indeed, mathematics education has gained a certain prominence in the broader educational discourse. Around the world, the reform of mathematics education has often led broader educational reform. Within this global context of broad educational research initiatives, we are pleased to present this Special Issue on Mathematics Education to international readers.

The eight articles collected in this Special Issue speak about mathematics teaching and learning, as well as the sociocultural contexts of teaching and learning. Although these articles may appear diverse in their research methods and mathematical topics, they collectively reveal work that is new and interesting in the mathematics education research community. This issue includes an investigation of the effectiveness of remedial instruction on the number sense of elementary students, an assessment of middle school students' understanding of steepness and proportional reasoning, a study of the development of effective cognitive and metacognitive instructional strategies in problem solving for high school students, and a comparison of middle school students' strategies when solving problems about speed across two countries. …

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