The influence of current efforts to improve school mathematics on the preparation for calculus

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Introduction. In this paper, we will describe some of the changes in K–12 education that affect the mathematical preparation of students entering colleges and universities and who pursue a study of mathematics that includes calculus. Although ideas and research can be traced back further, we will take the year 1989 as a starting point, when two significant publications appeared that served as catalysts for many individuals engaged in efforts to improve school mathematics education. They are: Everybody Counts: A Report to the Nation on the Future of Mathematics Education [14], published by the Mathematical Sciences Education Board (MSEB), the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics [10], published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Some other influential publications followed including: Reshaping School Mathematics [15], from MSEB in 1991, Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics [11], from NCTM in 1991, and Assessment Standards for School Mathematics [9], from NCTM in 1995. A planned update that also combined the three aforementioned NCTM documents into a single NCTM publication appeared in the spring of 2000 and is titled Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (PSSM) [12]. In general vision, the documents mentioned above are largely consistent with each other and serve curriculum developers, teacher educators, policy makers and others with a general vision of school mathematics education as well as a challenge to make that vision a reality.

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A Fresh Start for Collegiate Mathematics: Rethinking the Courses Below Calculus

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