Does Curriculum 2005 promote successful learning of elementary algebra?

09 Jul 2020

For many years now, mathematics educators have been concerned about the quality of learners? knowledge and understanding of elementary algebra. Numerous research projects have been undertaken internationally and a wealth of knowledge regarding learners? understanding and the way in which they learn has been accumulated. Based on these insights and often under the banner of ?reform in algebra?, researchers have made a number of suggestions to improve the practice of elementary algebra teaching. These not only include suggested approaches in the early high school years, but also essential groundwork to be done in the primary school years. This article reviews literature previous to the development of Curriculum 2005, which reflects on problems observed and reported on in learners? knowledge and understanding of elementary algebra. It then highlights a few suggested reasons for these and briefly reports on suggestions to improve the practice of elementary algebra teaching. The article then analyses the Learning Outcomes as specified by the Revised National Curriculum Statement for Mathematics (Department of Education, 2002), and evaluates whether these outcomes and associated Assessment Standards correspond with the earlier mentioned suggestions for improving the practice of elementary algebra teaching. The article concludes with a number of recommendations for research and teacher training, based on lessons learnt in the USA with the implementation of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Principles and Standards (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000).