Maximizing the Quality of Learning Opportunities for Every Student

For five decades, JRME has sought to publish high-quality mathematics education research that advances the field’s knowledge and has a positive impact on the teaching and learning of mathematics in the classroom. The journal’s 50th anniversary represents an opportune time for the research community to take a step back, assess what progress has been made on the major problems of the field, and consider the most important problems that could orient research in the future. As we look across educational scholarship, we find that among the most robust findings from research on teaching and learning is that students’ learning is “ultimately determined and constrained by the opportunities they have had to learn” (National Research Council, 2001, p. 31). As the field begins the next five decades of mathematics education research, this familiar, long-standing statement offers a simple but powerful lens that could refocus how researchers address the most important problems facing the mathematics education community. In this year’s editorials, we will use this lens as we discuss five overarching problems and associated research questions that we believe the field must address if it is to add important new knowledge and have a more substantive impact on practice over the next 50 years. In each editorial, we will elaborate on one of these overarching problems by identifying a number of more specific research questions related to that problem. In this editorial, we discuss the first of the five overarching problems: defining and measuring learning opportunities precisely enough to study how to maximize the quality of the opportunities experienced by every student.

Cai, J., Morris, A., Hohensee, C., Hwang, S., Robison, V., Cirillo, M., Kramer, S. L., Hiebert, J., & Bakker, A. (2020). Maximizing the quality of learning opportunities for every student. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 51(1), 12–25.