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Helping Children Learn Mathematics Overview The major observations and recommendations of this book establish new goals for mathematics learning and lay out a course of action for achieving those goals. All students can and should be proficient in mathematics. Mathematical proficiency involves five intertwined strands: (1) understanding mathematics; (2) computing fluently; (3) applying concepts to solve problems; (4) reasoning logically; and (5) engaging with mathematics, seeing it as sensible, useful, and doable. For all students to become mathematically proficient, major changes must be made in mathematics instruction, instructional materials, assessments, teacher education, and the broader educational system. In particular: Instruction should support the development of mathematical proficiency for all. Instructional materials should integrate the five strands of mathematical proficiency. Assessments should contribute to the goal of mathematical proficiency. Teachers should have the support that will enable them to teach all students to be mathematically proficient. Efforts to achieve mathematical proficiency for all students must be coordinated, comprehensive, and informed by scientific evidence. Mathematical proficiency for all cannot be achieved through piecemeal or isolated efforts. All interested parties—including parents and caregivers, teachers, administrators, and policy makers—must work together to improve school mathematics.
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