Vol. 15 No. 2 (2005)

Assessing the Impact of Standards-based Curricula: Investigating Students' Epistemological Conceptions of Mathematics

Published 2015-05-01


Since the advent of the NCTM Standards (1989), mathematics educators have been faced with the challenge of assessing the impact of Standards-based (or “reform”) curricula. Research on the impact of Standards-based curricula has predominantly focused on student achievement; here we consider an alternative: Students’ epistemological conceptions of mathematics. 297 participants were administered a Likert-scale survey instrument, the Conceptions of Mathematics Inventory. Of these, 163 had not experienced Standards-based curricula, while the rest had used a Standards-based curriculum for over three years. Our results indicate that students at the Standards-based site expressed more sophisticated epistemological conceptions of mathematics than those of the students from the non-Standards-based site. We interpret this result to suggest that implementation of Standards-based curricula may be having an effect on students’ epistemological conceptions of mathematics.