Document Type

Research Report

Original Publication Date


Date of Submission

January 2017


The National Assessment of Educational Progress's Mathematics assessment (hereafter the report) provides the national, educational policy makers, and practitioner the opportunity to stop pretending not to know. The report plainly confronts our own professional knowledge regarding mathematics education. In many instances it conforms much of what research has all ready described and what we have feared regarding mathematics education.

In some instances the report agrees with Carol Glickman's view that "professionals have gone about the business of teaching and operating schools in ways they privately admit are not in the best interests of students." From this view one of the report's most important contributions is that practitioners of mathematics education no longer can pretend to know and policy makers can no longer pretend not to know.

The purpose of this report is to provide interpretative comments of the important finding in the 1990 National Assessment of Educational Progress in Mathematics. Four questions guided our analysis: 1) what important findings were confirmed?, 2) what assumptions were challenged?, 3) how effective has the reform agenda been?, and 4) what new directions do the finding point toward? We framed our thoughts through the use of three concepts: Rhetoric, Reality and Remarks. Rhetoric refers to policy statements and research findings regarding mathematics education. Reality refers to finds of the NAEP 1990 math results. And, Remarks refers to our interpretive comments and conclusions regarding the structure, emphasis, delivery and broader impact of mathematics education. While we found the data fascinating and worthy of lengthy analysis, we chose to confine our remarks to three major categories and twelve conclusions.

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