A Future Vision of Mathematics Education Research: Blurring the Boundaries of Research and Practice to Address Teachers' Problems

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Jinfa CaiUniversity of Delaware

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Anne MorrisUniversity of Delaware

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Charles HohenseeUniversity of Delaware

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Stephen HwangUniversity of Delaware

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Victoria RobisonUniversity of Delaware

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James HiebertUniversity of Delaware

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We began our editorials in 2017 seeking answers to one complex but important question: How can we improve the impact of research on practice? In our first editorial, we suggested that a first step would be to better define the problem by developing a better understanding of the fundamental reasons for the divide between research and practice (Cai et al., 2017). This sparked subsequent editorials in which we delved deeper into some of the many complicated facets of this issue. In our March (Cai et al., 2017b) editorial, we argued that impact needs to be defined more broadly than it often has been, notably, to include cognitive and noncognitive outcomes in both the near term and longitudinally. This led us to focus our May (Cai et al., 2017a) editorial on the ways that research might have a greater impact on the learning opportunities that help students reach broader learning goals. We argued that it is not enough to identify learning goals–it is also necessary to conduct research that breaks those learning goals into subgoals that can be appropriately sequenced. We highlighted research on learning trajectories as an example of this sort of work but also emphasized the need to work at a grain size that is compatible with teachers' classroom practice. Finally, in our July (Cai et al., 2017c) editorial, we argued that the implementation of learning opportunities in the classroom is an integral element of research that has an impact on practice.

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