One hundred years of elementary school mathematics in the United States

A content analysis and cognitive assessment of textbooks from 1900 to 2000

David Baker, Hilary Knipe, John Collins, Juan Leon, Eric Cummings, Clancy Blair, David Gamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A content analysis of over 28, 000 pages from 141 elementary school mathematics textbooks published between 1900 and 2000 shows that widely used mathematics textbooks have changed substantially. Textbooks from the early part of the century were typically narrow in content but presented substantial amounts of advanced arithmetic and also asked students simultaneously to engage with material in effortful and conceptual ways. A period of change marked the middle of the century, when less advanced topics were presented and problem-solving tasks were simplified. From the mid-1960s onward, however, the trend reversed, and 3 major changes occurred in primary school mathematics curricula over the next 4 decades: (a) expansion of topics and the number of pages devoted to each topic; (b) a shift of traditionally more advanced topics from higher to lower grades; and, (c) within arithmetic, an increase in the number, abstraction, and cognitive demand of problem-solving strategies. Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of the historical study of mathematics and curriculum in U.S. schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-423
Number of pages41
JournalJournal for Research in Mathematics Education
Volume41
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010

Fingerprint

Content Analysis
textbook
elementary school
content analysis
mathematics
curriculum
abstraction
primary school
demand
trend
school
student
Curriculum

Keywords

  • Cognitive development
  • Content knowledge
  • Curriculum
  • Elementary
  • Historical analysis
  • Problem-solving
  • Reasoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)

Cite this

One hundred years of elementary school mathematics in the United States : A content analysis and cognitive assessment of textbooks from 1900 to 2000. / Baker, David; Knipe, Hilary; Collins, John; Leon, Juan; Cummings, Eric; Blair, Clancy; Gamson, David.

In: Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Vol. 41, No. 4, 07.2010, p. 383-423.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{a1534297278a4b7e9e755f4bcdaa6719,
title = "One hundred years of elementary school mathematics in the United States: A content analysis and cognitive assessment of textbooks from 1900 to 2000",
abstract = "A content analysis of over 28, 000 pages from 141 elementary school mathematics textbooks published between 1900 and 2000 shows that widely used mathematics textbooks have changed substantially. Textbooks from the early part of the century were typically narrow in content but presented substantial amounts of advanced arithmetic and also asked students simultaneously to engage with material in effortful and conceptual ways. A period of change marked the middle of the century, when less advanced topics were presented and problem-solving tasks were simplified. From the mid-1960s onward, however, the trend reversed, and 3 major changes occurred in primary school mathematics curricula over the next 4 decades: (a) expansion of topics and the number of pages devoted to each topic; (b) a shift of traditionally more advanced topics from higher to lower grades; and, (c) within arithmetic, an increase in the number, abstraction, and cognitive demand of problem-solving strategies. Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of the historical study of mathematics and curriculum in U.S. schools.",
keywords = "Cognitive development, Content knowledge, Curriculum, Elementary, Historical analysis, Problem-solving, Reasoning",
author = "David Baker and Hilary Knipe and John Collins and Juan Leon and Eric Cummings and Clancy Blair and David Gamson",
year = "2010",
month = "7",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "41",
pages = "383--423",
journal = "Journal for Research in Mathematics Education",
issn = "0021-8251",
publisher = "National Council of Teachers of Mathematics",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - One hundred years of elementary school mathematics in the United States

T2 - A content analysis and cognitive assessment of textbooks from 1900 to 2000

AU - Baker, David

AU - Knipe, Hilary

AU - Collins, John

AU - Leon, Juan

AU - Cummings, Eric

AU - Blair, Clancy

AU - Gamson, David

PY - 2010/7

Y1 - 2010/7

N2 - A content analysis of over 28, 000 pages from 141 elementary school mathematics textbooks published between 1900 and 2000 shows that widely used mathematics textbooks have changed substantially. Textbooks from the early part of the century were typically narrow in content but presented substantial amounts of advanced arithmetic and also asked students simultaneously to engage with material in effortful and conceptual ways. A period of change marked the middle of the century, when less advanced topics were presented and problem-solving tasks were simplified. From the mid-1960s onward, however, the trend reversed, and 3 major changes occurred in primary school mathematics curricula over the next 4 decades: (a) expansion of topics and the number of pages devoted to each topic; (b) a shift of traditionally more advanced topics from higher to lower grades; and, (c) within arithmetic, an increase in the number, abstraction, and cognitive demand of problem-solving strategies. Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of the historical study of mathematics and curriculum in U.S. schools.

AB - A content analysis of over 28, 000 pages from 141 elementary school mathematics textbooks published between 1900 and 2000 shows that widely used mathematics textbooks have changed substantially. Textbooks from the early part of the century were typically narrow in content but presented substantial amounts of advanced arithmetic and also asked students simultaneously to engage with material in effortful and conceptual ways. A period of change marked the middle of the century, when less advanced topics were presented and problem-solving tasks were simplified. From the mid-1960s onward, however, the trend reversed, and 3 major changes occurred in primary school mathematics curricula over the next 4 decades: (a) expansion of topics and the number of pages devoted to each topic; (b) a shift of traditionally more advanced topics from higher to lower grades; and, (c) within arithmetic, an increase in the number, abstraction, and cognitive demand of problem-solving strategies. Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of the historical study of mathematics and curriculum in U.S. schools.

KW - Cognitive development

KW - Content knowledge

KW - Curriculum

KW - Elementary

KW - Historical analysis

KW - Problem-solving

KW - Reasoning

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77954797680&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77954797680&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

VL - 41

SP - 383

EP - 423

JO - Journal for Research in Mathematics Education

JF - Journal for Research in Mathematics Education

SN - 0021-8251

IS - 4

ER -