The Canceled Curriculum Chapter in the ICMI Study 24

A curriculum for a class is like a score for an orchestra. Follow it, and the result will be a perfect performance. In music perhaps, but not always in a class.

It begins so well. Textbooks follow curricula, and teachers follow the textbooks supposed to mediate perfect learning. But, as shown in international tests, this does not always take place for all learners. But then, other scores may be more successful? Well, with few variations, scores seem to teach the same in the same way: numbers, operations, calculations, formulas, and forms. Why is there so little room for improvisation as in jazz?

So, with the transformation of modern society into a postmodern version, the time has come to ask: How about jazzing up the curricula to allow children’s quantitative competences and talents to blossom?

As a curriculum architect using difference research to uncover hidden differences that may make a difference, I warmly greeted the announcement of ICMI study 24 with the title ‘School Mathematics Curriculum Reforms: Challenges, Changes and Opportunities’. I was especially excited about including opportunities, which would allow hidden differences to be noticed and perhaps tested. And I jumped for joy with the acceptance of my paper ‘A Twin Curriculum Since Contemporary Mathematics May Block the Road to its Educational Goal, Mastery of Many.’

At the conference I was asked to contribute writing a report on part B2 asking ‘How are mathematics content and pedagogical approaches in reforms determined for different groups of students (for e.g. in different curriculum levels or tracks) and by whom?’ The deadline was end June 2019, but shortly before I was told that this part would be canceled and not appear in the report. Still, I finished my contribution and sent it in. But as expected, it has not been included. Consequently, I have chosen to publish it as an appendix to the ICMI 24 study.