National Academies Press: OpenBook

Helping Children Learn Mathematics (2002)

Chapter: What Can Administrators Do?

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Suggested Citation:"What Can Administrators Do?." National Research Council. 2002. Helping Children Learn Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10434.
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What Can Administrators Do?

  • Embrace the overarching goal of math proficiency for all.

  • Promote the idea to teachers and parents that math proficiency for all is both desirable and achievable.

  • Become an instructional leader in your school.

  • Spend time in math classrooms observing teachers and coaching teachers on teaching for proficiency.

  • Provide for a math curriculum aligned with the goal of math proficiency and expect teachers to design their instructional program accordingly.

  • Hire one or more math specialists for each elementary school.

  • Ensure that sufficient time is allocated for learning math.

  • Provide time and resources for ongoing district-wide and school-based professional development focused on math.

  • Make available teacher stipends, released time, and other support for substantial and sustained professional development.

  • Focus on coherent, multi-year programs.

  • Attend staff development activities for administrators to become familiar with math proficiency and with how proficiency is attained.

Suggested Citation:"What Can Administrators Do?." National Research Council. 2002. Helping Children Learn Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10434.
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Results from national and international assessments indicate that school children in the United States are not learning mathematics well enough. Many students cannot correctly apply computational algorithms to solve problems. Their understanding and use of decimals and fractions are especially weak. Indeed, helping all children succeed in mathematics is an imperative national goal. However, for our youth to succeed, we need to change how we're teaching this discipline. Helping Children Learn Mathematics provides comprehensive and reliable information that will guide efforts to improve school mathematics from pre—kindergarten through eighth grade. The authors explain the five strands of mathematical proficiency and discuss the major changes that need to be made in mathematics instruction, instructional materials, assessments, teacher education, and the broader educational system and answers some of the frequently asked questions when it comes to mathematics instruction. The book concludes by providing recommended actions for parents and caregivers, teachers, administrators, and policy makers, stressing the importance that everyone work together to ensure a mathematically literate society.

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