The New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework is based on the Mathematics Standards adopted by the New Jersey State Board of Education on May 1, 1996. The Mathematics Standards are part of the Core Curriculum Content Standards, developed by the New Jersey State Department of Education, including standards in seven content areas and cross-content workplace readiness standards. Taken together, the Core Curriculum Content Standards describe what every New Jersey student needs to understand and be able to do at the completion of the 4th, 8th, and 12th grade.
Achieving this vision is an ambitious, long-term undertaking; there is no simple path to the goal. Achieving this vision will take time, effort, and a commitment to change. The recommendations of the Mathematics Standards cannot be implemented overnight, and results will not appear overnight. Changes will be needed in all areas - in curriculum, instruction, assessment - and will involve rethinking school practices and extensive professional development. The changes will require the commitment of teachers, administrators, school boards, parents, and policy makers, and the effort of the entire New Jersey community.
The New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework is intended to be a resource, providing practical guidance to implement the Mathematics Standards. It includes information and resources for teachers at all grade levels and for school and district administrative personnel. Each chapter contains much information, and can serve as a basis for extended discussions involving teachers and administrators.
The New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework is not intended to be read straight through. It is intended to be user-friendly; but to achieve that purpose, the user also has to be friendly, warming up to its contents a little at a time, and not shying away from it because of its bulk.
New Jersey's Mathematics Standards and the New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework are directed toward one crucial goal:
The Mathematics Standards are based on the twin premises that all students can learn mathematics and that all students need to learn mathematics. They set high achievable expectations for all students, and call for teachers and parents to help all students strive toward and achieve those standards.
New Jersey's Mathematics Standards and the New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework call for major changes, both in terms of what mathematics will be taught, and in how it will be taught. The recommendations provided here are very specific. Yet, it is not intended that they be implemented dogmatically; different situations call for different responses and different strategies. In education, as in other areas, there is a tendency to swing from one extreme to another. We hope that educators will utilize their common sense, judgment, and experience in finding appropriate ways of using the recommendations in this Framework to inform their decision-making. We expect that this Framework will be a major resource to teachers seeking to implement the Mathematics Standards in the classroom; we also expect it to be valuable to districts which are seeking to introduce mathematics curricula based on the Mathematics Standards and to provide professional development to their teachers based on the Mathematics Standards.
The publication of this document is the culmination of the New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework Project, a collaborative effort of the New Jersey Mathematics Coalition and the New Jersey Department of Education, which was funded by an Eisenhower grant from the United States Department of Education. This effort is also a component of New Jersey's Statewide Systemic Initiative to Improve Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education. The Framework and the Mathematics Standards build on the Standards published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in 1989 and 1991.
A Preliminary Version of the New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework was published in January 1995. That Preliminary Version reflected the efforts of hundreds of New Jersey mathematics educators who worked together during 1993 and 1994 to develop materials that would be appropriate for a world-class mathematics curriculum framework. During the last two years, the Preliminary Version has been reviewed and used by many teachers, schools, and districts throughout the state. This new version of the
New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework reflects their comments and suggestions, and follows the organization of the Mathematics Standards adopted by the New Jersey State Board of Education.
Though published, the New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework is not completed. We anticipate that it will continue as a living document on the Web site of the New Jersey Mathematics Coalition, where it is available at http://dimacs.rutgers.edu/archive/nj_math_coalition/framework.html/. We hope to post additional resources relating to the Mathematics Standards, such as grade-specific activities submitted by New Jersey teachers, and to provide a forum to discuss the Mathematics Standards.
The efforts of all those who have contributed to the development of the New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework are acknowledged below. This has been truly a state-wide effort of which we can all be proud. Let us all continue to work together to make the vision of New Jersey's Mathematics Standards a reality in the coming years!
For further information, please call the New Jersey Mathematics Coalition at 908/445-2894 or contact the New Jersey State Department of Education, Office of Standards and Assessment, CN 500, Trenton, NJ 08625-0500. We welcome your comments on the Framework and your suggestions about its future; please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or the New Jersey Mathematics Coalition, P.O. Box 10867, New Brunswick, NJ 08906.
Joseph G. Rosenstein
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