The current debates about the future of mathematics education often lead to confusion about the role that research should play in settling disputes. On the one hand, researchers are called upon to resolve issues that really are about values and priorities, and, on the other hand, research is ignored when empirical evidence is essential. When research is appropriately solicited, expectations often overestimate, or underestimate, what research can provide. In this article, by distinguishing between values and research problems and by calibrating appropriate expectations for research, I address the role that research can and should play in shaping standards. Research contributions to the current debates are illustrated with brief summaries of some findings that are relevant to the standards set by the NCTM.
James Hiebert, H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Education, University of Delaware, School of Education, Newark, DE 19716; email@example.com