The New Math as an international phenomenon. (English)

ZDM, Int. J. Math. Educ. 44, No. 4, 563-571 (2012).

Summary: The new math was a several-decade-long movement to update school mathematics that began in the mid twentieth century in many countries around the world. It took many forms, but much of it involved the preparation of new instructional materials, including textbooks. Much of the new math activity in Europe and North America was stimulated by conferences and seminars of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the early 1960s. Although the initial reform efforts addressed secondary school mathematics courses that prepared pupils for tertiary education, those efforts quickly spread to primary school mathematics, to pupils not headed to tertiary education, and to non-OECD countries. Mathematicians and schoolteachers were divided about the direction that the new math reforms took. Although the new math is often deemed a failed endeavor, it changed not only school mathematics but also the way people and countries viewed school mathematics.