Improving Mathematics Educatio n

through School-Based Change

JUDITH MUMME AND JULIAN WEISSGLASS

INTRODUCTION

Educators ar e being challenge d t o mak e fundamenta l change s in math -

ematics instructio n an d i n school s themselves . (Carnegi e Tas k Forc e o n

Teaching as a Profession (1986), Goodlad (1984), National Council of Teaeh-

ers of Mathematics (1989), National Research Council (1989), National Sci-

ence Board (1983).) Th e difficulties o f achieving and sustaining educational

change and curriculum reform, however, have been well documented. Fulla n

(1982), for example, states "There's no need to dwell on the fact that the vast

majority of curriculum development and other educational change adoptions

in the 1960's and 70's did not get implemented in practice, even where im-

plementation wa s desired." The current refor m effor t starte d i n 1983 with

the publication o f Educating Americans for the 2\st Century (Nationa l Sci-

ence Board (1983)). Since then many dedicated teachers have made changes

in their classrooms. Yet the overall approach to mathematics instruction re-

mains much the same. It "continues to be dominated by teacher explanations,

chalkboard presentations, and reliance on textbooks and workbooks. Mor e

innovative forms of instruction—such as those involving small group activ-

ities, laborator y work , an d specia l projects—remai n disappointingl y rare "

(Dossey, Mullis, Lindquist, and Chambers (1988)). It is our belief that fun -

damental change in mathematics instruction will require new professional de-

velopment strategies—ones that address schools as an mterconnected whole

and provide emotional as well as intellectual support to teachers.

Project TIME (Teachers Improving Mathematics Education) was conceived

as an attempt to institute change in mathematics instruction using such strate-

gies. I t wa s developed by the author s an d teacher leader s at participatin g

schools over a two-year period (1983-1985 ) an d was in Operation for fou r

years (1986-1990). Fundin g was received from th e National Science Foun-

dation, the PL 98-377 State Grant Program, the University of California a t

The authors were supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant TEI-8550283.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1090/cbmath/002/01