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Primary School Mathematics Education Curricula in the United States and Latvia

Astrida Cirulis1, 2, Ineta Helmane1
1 University of Latvia, Latvia
2 Concordia University Chicago, U.S.

Abstract. Mathematics and its related competencies are used consciously and unconsciously in many of life’s everyday activities regardless of the country or geographical location, policies, social, economic or political situations. The abstract language of mathematics is understood throughout the world but is learned in a variety of different types and levels of institutions of learning. An everchanging globalized world prioritizes the need for mathematics. Therefore, the mathematics taught in school should give an understanding of mathematics and the tools to use mathematics effectively in new situations. It is common today that many countries are re-evaluating and revising their education system’s standards for mathematics teaching, recognizing the changing needs of the work force and society. Within the framework of a project implemented at the Faculty of Pedagogy, Psychology and Art at the University of Latvia, one of the main priorities of which is to promote the exchange of academic staff and cooperation in training future teachers, it was possible to evaluate and compare mathematics curricula in both countries. The aim of this paper is to do a preliminary analysis of the content of the basic education curricula in Latvia and U.S., focusing specifically on geometry and measurement, and seek data about the impact of the Standards on learning. The study, using document analysis, reviews the competency-based approach taken in Latvia’s Skola2030 (School2030), and compares it to the Common Core State Standards, implemented in the U.S. A review of the similarities and differences in the content and sequencing is explored. Reviewing the mathematics content in both countries showed more similarities than differences in geometry and measurement. The study looked at not only the mathematical content of the standards but also the approach both countries’ standards take in developing students’ conceptual understanding of primary mathematics to promote mathematical literacy for all students.

Keywords: content, curricula, mathematics education, mathematics standards, primary school

­About the authors

Astrida Cirulis – Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the Concordia University Chicago, U.S.
Dr. Cirulis teaches mathematics courses in the elementary and secondary teacher education programs. Among her research interests are elementary pre-service and in-service teachers’ understanding of mathematics. Dr. Cirulis has been a member of Concordia’s faculty since 2005. A. Cirulis has scientific publications on educational content, mathematics education. Dr. Cirulis has contributed to Math Trailblazers K-5 chapter in “Standards-Based School Mathematics Curricula”.

Ineta Helmane – Associate Professor of Education at the University of Latvia, Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art with focus on Mathematics education in preschool and primary school. She is a Head of Preschool Education and Primary School Education Department at Faculty of Education, Psychology and Arts in University of Latvia. The author of several scientific publications on educational content, mathematics teaching/learning, integrated education, interdisciplinary approach in education, teacher’s professional competence, etc. Dr. Helmane is the author of textbooks, interactive materials and teaching tools for mathematics education in preschool and primary school.

To Be or Not to Be a Great Educator, 2022. Proceedings of ATEE Annual Conference
Riga: University of Latvia Press, 2023. 985 p.
EdL. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-019-0