Plenary Speaker Profile (2003)
Cathy Kessel
Mathematics Education Consultant
Berkeley CA
A solid school mathematics: What it means, why we don't have one, and how we might get one

With Liping Ma

It is common in the United States to view mathematics, particularly elementary mathematics, as a collection of rules, "shopkeeper arithmetic," or "basic skills." In contrast, a solid school mathematics (Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics, Liping Ma, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999, pp. 146, 149) has breadth and depth and provides a foundation for future learning of mathematics. In this talk we discuss what such a school mathematics might look like, what factors have militated against its development in the United States, and how we might foster the development of a solid school mathematics.

Cathy Kessel is a mathematics education consultant based in Berkeley, California. She received her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has taught mathematics at various colleges and universities. She has worked as a researcher in mathematics education at the University of California and the University of Melbourne. Kessel edited Liping Ma's Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics, was an additional writer on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, and was the lead editor for the CBMS report The Mathematical Education of Teachers. Her publications include articles in the MER Newsletter, the AWM Newsletter, Research in Collegiate Mathematics Education, and the Encyclopedia of Gender. She and Ma are working on an elementary mathematics textbook.