CBMS Position Statements

Active Learning in Post-Secondary Mathematics Education (2016)

Opening paragraph:

Classroom environments in which students are provided opportunities to engage in mathematical investigation, communication, and group problem-solving, while also receiving feedback on their work from both experts and peers, have a positive effect on learning. Teaching techniques that support these activities are called active learning methods. Because there is not a unique definition of active learning, either in popular use or in the research literature, we use the phrase active learning to refer to classroom practices that engage students in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving, that promote higher-order thinking. Recent years have seen an increased awareness of the critical role of active learning techniques, a refined understanding of how they can be implemented effectively, and a substantial increase in their implementations in post-secondary mathematics courses. A wealth of research has provided clear evidence that active learning results in better student performance and retention than more traditional, passive forms of instruction alone. Post-secondary faculty and P-12 educators have successfully used active learning methods in a diverse set of institutions and across a broad range of teaching environments. These methods have been shown to strengthen student learning and achievement in mathematics, to foster students’ confidence in their ability to do mathematics, and to increase the diversity of the mathematical community. In recognition of this, we call on institutions of higher education, mathematics departments and the mathematics faculty, public policy-makers, and funding agencies to invest time and resources to ensure that effective active learning is incorporated into post-secondary mathematics classrooms. We further call on professional societies and funding agencies to continue their support of training and resources for the use of active learning. We believe that using active learning methods in a way that builds on the extensive previous and ongoing work to modernize mathematics curriculum and pedagogy will lead to richer and more meaningful mathematical experiences for both students and teachers.

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Collective Effort to Improve the First Two Years of College Mathematics (2015)

Opening paragraph:

In a major cooperative effort to improve mathematics learning in the critical first two years of college, five mathematical sciences professional societies (AMS, AMATYC, ASA, MAA, and SIAM) have joined forces to address a wide range of issues that affect the first two years of collegiate mathematics.  The efforts are broadly directed toward students with a wide range of college and career aspirations and they reflect a powerful collective effort rather than an attempt to make one size fit all.  To help develop broad based support, this work is being done in consultation with teacher and K-12 educators’ organizations.

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Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (2013)

Opening paragraph:

In a great act of foresight for this nation, most of the states have now adopted a consistent set of expectations for school mathematics, called the Common Core State Standards.  Building on long years of work, the Common Core State Standards are an auspicious advance in mathematics education.  They define the mathematical knowledge and skill that students need in order to be ready for college and career, and provide the basis for a curriculum that is focused and coherent. If properly implemented, these rigorous new standards hold the promise of elevating the mathematical knowledge and skill of every young American to levels competitive with the best in the world, of preparing our college entrants to undertake advanced work in the mathematical sciences, and of readying the next generation for the jobs their world will demand. Much remains to be done to implement the standards, in curriculum, assessment, and teacher education. But we now have, for the first time in our history, a common blueprint for this work across state lines.  This is not the time to turn away from our good fortune. We, the undersigned presidents of the following member societies of CBMS, hereby express our strong support for the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

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