Demands, Tensions, and Resources When Implementing Ambitious Mathematics

In this article, we explore demands and tensions involved when schools implement ambitious mathematics teaching (AMT). Following a description of a framework that distinguishes between internal and external demands, we characterize the tension between these in terms of alignment, balance, and buffering, which collectively speak to coherence. We then describe AMT and how it represents a departure from traditional mathematics instruction found in most countries. We applied the framework to an illustrative case and found that while the school devoted considerable resources to reforming mathematics teaching and learning, challenges persisted. These challenges include ongoing language and participatory demands for students and, for teachers, balancing the demands of implementing AMT with a range of other initiatives. The framework provides a means of exploring the full range of demands associated with ambitious instructional reforms, how these demands are mitigated or exacerbated, and the kinds of resources necessary to sustain AMT.

Choppin, J., Green, C., & Zahner, W. (2024). Demands, tensions, and resources when implementing ambitious mathematics. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 32.