Thursday, February 11, 2016

Overview—Critical Issues in Mathematics Education (MSRI 2016)

The Critical Issues in Mathematics Education Workshop (CIME) 2016 at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute began yesterday evening. This year's topic is Observing, Evaluating and Improving Mathematics Teaching from the Early Grades through the University. The workshop's website is

The 2016 CIME workshop is focusing directly on the teaching of mathematics at the university and precollege levels through close observation and discussion of video tapes. The goal of the workshop is to develop language and methods for describing, analyzing and evaluating what can be seen in the classroom, with the ultimate goal of helping us shape and improve teaching our own and more broadly.

The workshop is being guided by the following questions.

  • What skills are needed for observing teaching in ways that inform improvement efforts? What is involved in observing teaching? What is the teacher saying and doing? What are students saying and doing? What is the mathematics at play? What else is happening? And what do these imply for teaching?
  • How can the practice and use of observation be structured in order to improve mathematics teaching? What approaches are available? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • Observation-based assessment of teaching: Why, what, and how? What are the risks?
  • How can we develop and sustain a cross-professional community that observes and evaluates teaching in such a way that different communities communicate with and learn from each other to support a cycle of improvement in the teaching of mathematics at all levels? The workshop will provide a library of videos of mathematics teaching for study. In addition, participants are encouraged to submit a short video clip of their own teaching, together with a brief background commentary. These videos will provide a central text for our collective work on discussing and assessing mathematics teaching.

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