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Judith T. Sowder

The International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME) has been active since 1976, with yearly meetings attended by researchers representing 39 countries. The proceedings of these meetings and of the meetings of the North American Chapter of PME reflect the changing concerns of the international mathematics education research community and form a rich resource of studies on the learning and teaching of mathematics. These proceedings can, however, be described as “fugitive literature” in the sense that they are not generally available through libraries. The advent of easily obtainable publications that describe the work of the PME community is overdue and welcome.

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Judith T. Sowder

The beginning of a new year as well as the threshold of a new century and a new millennium seem appropriate times to take stock of where we have been and where we are going as a mathematics education research community. We have accomplished a great deal in the past half century of our existence, and I for one look forward to reading the forthcoming book on the history of mathematics education, edited by Jeremy Kilpatrick and George Stanic. That book will review for us our progress thus far, but what are the challenges we now face? This question will be addressed in various ways at various gatherings in the coming year, and new agendas will result from those discussions.

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Judith T. Sowder

In recent issues of the Educational Researcher, Robert Slavin and Stanley Pogrow have aired their disparate views on the criteria necessary for valid program evaluation. Pogrow claimed that although “experimental designs are essential for testing theory, classical control group designs are of little practical value for determining whether programs are exemplary” (1998, p. 22). He was met with Slavin's response that questioning the necessity of control groups is “an assault on the very core of social science” (1999, p. 36). This same debate occurs in evaluating curricula. Should every new curriculum be experimentally compared with existing curricula? But any evaluation of curricula is necessarily valued-based. Hiebert claimed, “Debates about what the research says will not settle the issue; only debates about values and priorities will be decisive” (1999, p. 5). Research can tell us whether or not a curriculum matches our values, and I would claim that research dollars would be better spent in determining what a particular curriculum has to offer than on comparing it with other curricula, using measures that are value-laden but are never identified as such.

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Judith T. Sowder

The new NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (2000) were presented to the public with great fanfare at the NCTM Annual Meeting in Chicago in April of this year. The mood was celebratory, perhaps even more so than when the 1989 Standards were presented. How will these new Principles and Standards be accepted? What influence will they have? Are there messages here to which the research community ought to be attending?

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Judith T. Sowder

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Judith T. Sowder

With this issue my name is listed as editor of this journal. Some have asked me what changes I plan to make. The journal has now passed the quarter-century mark, and so one change that seemed appropriate was the one evident to you before you opened the cover of this issue. There will be other changes before the end of my term. By that time, an electronic version of the journal should be a well-established option for our readers. And I intend for the time lag between acceptance of manuscripts and publication to be much shorter than it is now. Steps have already been taken to reduce the backlog of accepted manuscripts, as was noted in the November 1996 editorial.

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Judith T. Sowder

Each year at the NCTM Annual Meeting, the JRME Editorial Panel holds a session for those interested in publishing in the JRME. Many prospective authors cannot attend, and so I decided to share the information from the Minneapolis session with JRME readers.

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Judith T. Sowder

With this issue of the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education we are pleased to announce that we are launching our electronic version of the journal. In addition to this issue, the March and May issues of the JRME will be accessible on the NCTM Web site, www.nctm.org, at no charge. Beginning with the July 1998 issue, the electronic version will become a fee-based offering with its own URL. A fee structure for subscribing to one or both forms of the journal is still being developed. Watch the Web site for information on subscribing to the electronic version of the journal. Each subscriber to the electronic version will receive a log-in password to access the journal. A password will not be necessary, however, for features of the journal now on-line, including tables of content, article abstracts, the list of accepted manuscripts, and the telegraphic reviews.

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Judith T. Sowder

Mathematics education research is no longer a young discipline. One way of measuring our age is in terms of years. Jeremy Kilpatrick (1992) traces our history back to the turn of the century, but he notes that a 1967 conference held at the University of Georgia seemed “for many participants … to mark the beginnings of true interdisciplinarity and community among researchers in mathematics education (p. 25).”