NO PART OF THE K–12 MATHEMATICS curriculum is more fluid and controversial than introductory algebra. Content and assessment issues lie at the core of this debate: What algebra skills and understandings are important? What kind of evidence suggests that students possess these skills? Neither question can be answered in simple terms; in fact, no single “right” answer may exist for either one.
Smith studies middle and high school students' learning and problem solving, particularly in algebra, and the use of mathematics in the workplace. Phillips's interests include the teaching and learning of mathematics with a focus on the middle grades.