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Judith T. Sowder

As a mathematics education researcher, my biggest surprise this past year has been to learn that behaviorism continues to be alive and well and on the way to having profound effects on mathematics education in this country in the coming years. Once again, California is leading the way. The California State Board of Education is taking seriously the law (California Education Code 60200c-3) demanding that standards and frameworks be research based. In order to make certain that this law is carried out, the Board last summer funded a project to identify research findings in mathematics education relevant to the development of mathematics standards and a mathematics framework. One cannot argue with this decision. It is the details of the decision that concern me.

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Judith T. Sowder

Many JRME readers are aware of NCTM's Standards 2000 initiative, but I suspect that some are not. This work will have important ramifications for future schooling in the United States and will probably have some influence in other countries as well. By the time this editorial is in print, a draft of the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics will be available for reading and comments. This seems to be a good time to provide some background on this initiative and to urge you to read the draft document and provide comments to NCTM's Commission on the Future of the Standards

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Judith T. Sowder

The science education research community has recently been engaged in a heated e-mail discussion about the journal review process. This debate began with a professor's long open letter to an editor in which he protested the decision to reject his submitted manuscript and listed his disagreements with two of the reviewers who had rejected his paper. His protest has led to some soul-searching within the science education community about the journal review process. Reading through some of that mail caused me to think again about the peer-review process as it works with this journal.

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Judith Sowder

Some years ago I examined several middle school students' understanding of numbers (Threadgill-Sowder 1984). The answers that students gave me during that study showed me that their understanding, developed largely through experiences in the elementary grades, was fuzzy and led me to undertake a decade of research on children's number sense in the elementary and middle school grades. I will set the stage for this article by sharing two of the questions I gave the students during that study and some of the responses I received.

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Judith Sowder

Edited by Judith Sowder and Larry Sowder

Many recent documents call for a renewed emphasis on computational estimation in the classroom. However, researchers are only now giving attention to how students learn computational estimation. The research described here focused on how children develop the ability to estimate computations. We begin with a brief description of the theory on which the research was based, describe the research study itself, and finally discuss the study's implications and extensions into the classroom.

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Judith Threadgill-Sowder and Larry Sowder

Performance was contrasted on mathematical story problems in two formats, a drawn version and the usual verbal one, with 262 fifth graders. The drawn format resulted in superior problem-solving performance. There was a significant ATI between field independence-dependence and format treatments, although the overall treatment effects were not different.

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Larry Sowder

Edited by Judith Sowder and Larry Sowder

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Judith Sowder and Carole B. Lacampagne

The Teaching and Learning of Quantities and Rational Numbers Working Group has a complex purpose. The goal is to investigate the changes in classroom teaching and the effects on students' learning of teachers' opportunities for in-depth study of the mathematics in grades 3 to 7.

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Judith Sowder and Larry Sowder

Edited by James W. Stigler

Mathematics represents a universal system for communicating quantitative ideas, and the Hindu-Arabic ystem of nume ration is used throughout the world. Although the concepts of mathematics are unive rsal, the bel iefs and practices that underlie mathematics instruction are not. In ten year of work comparing Japanese. Chinese, and American e lementary schools. I have repeatedly been impressed that beliefs and prac tices taken for granted by American teachers are not necessarily adhered to by the ir Asian counterpart. In mathematics we should be particularly motivated to examine and reflect on these differences because American children fall far behind A ian students in their knowledge of mathematic.

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Magdalene Lampert

Edited by Judith Sowder and Larry Sowder

Teachers often feel torn, especially in upper elementary school mathematics classes, between spending time on problem-solving work that will get students to understand mathematics and spending time on developing computational skills. The conflict is especially strong because the computational skills in the curriculum at this level are complex: “long” multiplication and division, relating fractions to decimals and percents, and operations on fractions. The procedures involved in doing these computations involve many steps, and students often have difficulty remembering what to do and in what order.