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Marilyn E. Strutchens

DO YOUR STUDENTS LIKE MATHEmatics? Are they confident in their ability to do mathematics? All too often, we focus on ensuring that students develop mathematical content knowledge, paying little attention to such affective issues as students' attitudes toward mathematics and their beliefs about their abilities to do mathematics. Yet instruction affects students' attitudes toward, and beliefs about, mathematics; likewise students' attitudes influence mathematics instruction (McLeod 1992; Reyes 1980). Students should learn to value mathematics and become confident in their ability to do mathematics (NCTM 1989).

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Marilyn E. Strutchens

In recent years, the mathematics community has given more attention to the role that mathematics plays in our cultural society and the contributions of different cultures to mathematics (Bishop 1988; D'Ambrosio 1985; NCTM 1989; Frankenstein 1990; Joseph 1993). Teachers are encouraged to include culture in a variety of ways in the mathematics classroom. Students can be encouraged to use mathematics as a tool to examine their cultural and social environments, traditions, and artifacts. In addition, mathematics learned by students outside the classroom can be used as a bridge to learning school mathematics.

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Marilyn Strutchens

The Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) is excited to serve as a co-partner with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in publishing Mathematics Teacher Educator (MTE), a practitioner journal for mathematics teacher educators, which will serve as a milestone in the history of AMTE. The mission and goals of MTE, listed below, support our members and our organizational goals.

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Michaele F. Chappell and Marilyn E. Strutchens

The recent “Algebra for all” era has meant “the best of times and the worst of times” in many middle schools. At one extreme, many adolescents delight in the opportunity to study algebra or algebraic thinking and perform well in this course of study. At the other extreme, too many adolescents encounter serious challenges as they delve into fundamental ideas that make up this essential mathematical subject. Instead of viewing algebra as a natural extension of their arithmetic experiences, significant numbers of adolescents do not connect algebraic concepts with previously learned ideas. For instance, data from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) showed that at the international level, only 47 percent of the seventh graders and only 58 percent of the eighth graders were able to recognize that m + m + m + m was equivalent to 4m (Beaton et al. 1996).

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Rebecca McGraw, Sarah Thuele Lubienski, and Marilyn E. Strutchens

In this article we describe gender gaps in mathematics achievement and attitude as measured by the U.S. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) from 1990 to 2003. Analyzing relationships among achievement and mathematical content, student proficiency and percentile levels, race, and socioeconomic status (SES), we found that gender gaps favoring males (1) were generally small but had not diminished across reporting years, (2) were largest in the areas of measurement, number and operations (in Grades 8 and 12) and geometry (in Grade 12), (3) tended to be concentrated at the upper end of the score distributions, and (4) were most consistent for White, high-SES students and non-existent for Black students. In addition, we found that female students' attitudes and self-concepts related to mathematics continued to be more negative than those of male students.

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Marilyn E. Strutchens, Kimberly A. Harris, and W.GARY Martin

Studying geometry benefits students in a number of ways. Geometry enables students to represent and make sense of the world, analyze and solve problems, and represent abstract symbols pictorially to facilitate understanding (NCTM 2000). Similarly, measurement establishes important connections between school mathematics and everyday life. However, students often have very little understanding of geometry and measurement concepts (Martin and Strutchens, in press). More often than not, students are asked to memorize geometric properties rather than to experience geometry through nature walks or worthwhile tasks that involve hands-on explorations. Further, students learn measurement through memorizing formulas rather than exploring the underlying concepts.

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M. Kathleen Heid, Matthew Larson, James T. Fey, Marilyn E. Strutchens, James A. Middleton, Eric Gutstein, Karen King, and Harry Tunis

This article discusses the challenge of improving the interrelationships between research and practice in mathematics education, and it outlines actions being taking to respond to that challenge. The need for improvement is bidirectional. The practice of classroom mathematics teaching needs to be better informed by an understanding of the implications of existing bodies of research, and researchers need to learn more from the insights and knowledge of practitioners. Building on its series of initiatives designed to use research to guide mathematics teaching and learning, NCTM has made a new commitment to a flexible, nimble, and sustainable initiative that will strengthen the bidirectional link between research and practice. This initiative includes the development of Research Analyses, Briefs, and Clips (ABCs), research syntheses designed through collaboration of teacher leaders and researchers to inform instructional leaders and policymakers about research perspectives on critical issues of practice.

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Jere Confrey, Marilyn E. Strutchens, Michael T. Battista, Margaret Schwan Smith, Karen D. King, John T. Sutton, Timothy A. Boerst, and Judith Reed

Research on curricular choices has attracted widespread attention and merits increased investment by the research community. Multiple studies, publications, conferences, and a multicampus center (The Show-Me Project, n.d.) speak to the need to discuss what is taught in our classrooms and to whom, how, and when. For example, the January 2007 issue of JRME focused on research related to the development, implementation, and evaluation of curricula (NCTM, 2007). Williams (2007) commented that one of the challenges we face as a field is determining what questions of practice are worth asking and how research on those questions can help advance the field. Since the 1990s, with the creation of Standards-based curricula, practitioners have had to choose between new and traditional curricula. In addition, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has put pressure on schools to use curriculum materials that are research based and approved by the U.S. Department of Education (n.d.). These two milestones related to mathematics education justify making curricula issues an area that warrants the attention of both the research community and practitioners. The purpose of this article is to highlight advances related to curricular research; pose questions that require further investigation; and describe related, emerging subfields.

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Michael T. Battista, James T. Fey, Karen D. King, Matthew Larson, Judith Reed, Margaret Schwan Smith, Marilyn E. Strutchens, and John T. Sutton

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has a long-standing commitment to linking research and practice. Over the past 5 years, NCTM has accelerated and refocused its attempts to strengthen the connections among the mathematics education research community, mathematics teachers, and mathematics program leaders. Initial steps were taken in 2004 following the call of the NCTM's Research Committee to “(a) Consolidate what we do know into a systematic, meaningful body of knowledge that can form the core trajectory on which an [research] Agenda can be built; (b) identify key problems of import to the field that must be attended to” (Middleton et al., 2004, p. 78).