COMET • Vol. 8, No. 20 – 8 September 2007


(1) State Schools Chief Jack O’Connell Releases New YouTube Video for Students Going Back to School

Source: California Department of Education – 4 September 2007

On Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell released a new short video on YouTube aimed at reminding students that learning can be fun.

“This video is meant to be fun but deliver an important message–that everyone has a stake in the success of our students, including students themselves,” O’Connell said. “School is where we make friends, gain knowledge, develop creativity and critical thinking skills, and even learn about exercise and nutrition. I want every California student to develop a love of learning and enjoy going to school. California’s future depends on the young people in our schools today. Everyone in our state needs to be concerned about student achievement, including parents, teachers, administrators, our business community, and public officials, in addition to our students.”

O’Connell’s Welcome Back to School YouTube video is 2 minutes long. It can be viewed on YouTube at or on at

The video features O’Connell and students at Bret Harte Elementary School in Sacramento. It shows examples of students (including O’Connell) enjoying school and also includes a Top Ten list of ways to enhance learning for students.



(1) Number and Diversity of SAT Takers at All-Time High, but Math, Reading, and Writing Scores Decline Slightly

Source:  College Board – 28 August 2007

The College Board recently announced SAT scores for the class of 2007, the largest and most diverse class of SAT takers on record. Nearly 1.5 million students in the class of 2007 took the SAT, and minority students comprised nearly four out of 10 test-takers.

“The record number of students, coupled with the diversity of SAT takers in the class of 2007, means that an increasing number of students in this country are recognizing the importance of a college education and are taking the steps necessary to get there,” said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board. “I am encouraged by the greater numbers of students from all walks of life who are taking on the challenge of the SAT and college.

This year’s average score in critical reading is 502, a 1-point decline compared to last year, or a change of 0.20 percent. The average scores in mathematics and writing declined 3 points each compared to a year ago, bringing the scores to 515 and 494, or a change of 0.58 percent and 0.60 percent, respectively.

SAT Takers in the Class of 2007:

1. More African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic students in the class of 2007 took the SAT than in any previous class.

2. Hispanic students represent the largest and fastest growing minority group.

3. There are also more SAT takers in this year’s class for whom English is not exclusively their first language learned, compared to previous years’ SAT takers. In the class of 2007, 24%did not have English exclusively as their first language, compared to 17% in 1997, and 13% in 1987.

4. Thirty-five percent of this year’s class will be the first in their families to attend college.

5. Females comprise 54% of those who took the SAT this year.

Of additional interest, during the past two years, among all students taking the SAT, there has been a 31% increase in the number of students receiving SAT fee waivers. Over the past year among all students taking the SAT, one out of every nine received a fee waiver and qualified to take the SAT at no charge. A student’s eligibility for a fee waiver is primarily determined using the USDA income eligibility chart for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program.

SAT Score Trends and Course Taking

While the long-term trend for critical reading scores has been essentially flat, some racial/ethnic groups saw score increases in critical reading this year. Asian-Americans (+4), Mexican-Americans (+1), Other Hispanics (+1) and Other (+3) students all saw gains in critical reading scores compared to last year. Critical reading scores for females held steady at 502, while scores for males slipped by 1 point to 504 compared to a year ago. Over the last 10 years, the gap favoring males on the critical reading section has narrowed from a high of 9 points in 2003 to 2 points this year.

The long-term trend in mathematics scores is up, rising from 501 twenty years ago to 511 ten years ago. Mathematics scores hit an all-time high of 520 in 2005, before slipping in 2006 and 2007. This year’s math score was 515.

When compared to 10 years ago, more students are taking precalculus and calculus. In 2007, 53% of students reported taking precalculus, compared to 40% ten years ago. The percentage of students taking calculus rose from 23% to 30% during the same time period. While both males and females are taking more challenging math courses, a greater proportion of males continue to enroll in these courses, and the score gap in mathematics persists. In 2007, females scored 499 on the mathematics section and males scored 533.

This year marks the second year of scores for the writing section on the SAT, thus it is too soon for a long-term trend to be established. Sixty-six percent of 2007 college-bound seniors reported taking English Composition in high school. The average writing score for these students is 521, 27 points higher than this year’s average writing score. The score gap on the writing section favors females by 11 points, with females scoring 500 and males scoring 489.

New College Enrollment Data

The College Board, in partnership with National Student Clearinghouse, is now able to track college-enrollment patterns of SAT takers at the state and national level.

Available for the first time this year is the percentage of 2006 college-bound seniors from public schools enrolled in college and the percentage that chose to enroll in-state or out-of-state. Information on enrollment by race/ethnicity and type of institution attended (two year, four year, public, private) is also available. The College Board will be able to follow each class of SAT takers so that in future years, additional information, including the percentage of students successfully completing each year of college, as well as graduation rates, will be available.

“Not only is it important for students to gain admission to college, they must also have the tools to succeed when they get there,” said Caperton. “This data will be invaluable as we continue our efforts to address concerns about college retention rates nationwide.”


(2) Future Career Path of Gifted Youth Can be Predicted by Age 13

Source: Vanderbilt University

The future career path and creative direction of gifted youth can be predicted well by their performance on the SAT at age 13, a new study from Vanderbilt University finds. The study offers insights into how best to identify the nation’s most talented youth, which is a focus of the new $43 billion America Competes Act recently passed by Congress to enhance the United States’ ability to compete globally.

“Our economy depends upon the creative sector–science, technology, the arts, medicine, law and entertainment,” David Lubinski, study co-author and professor of psychology at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development, said. “Our research finds that differences in creative potential among highly gifted youth can be identified at age 13, offering opportunities for educators and policymakers to develop programs to cultivate these individuals based on their unique strengths and abilities.”

The research was drawn from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth or SMPY, which is tracking 5,000 individuals over 50 years identified at age 13 as being highly intelligent by their SAT scores. Lubinski and Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Peabody College, lead the study. Their co-author on the new report, published online by Psychological Science Sept. 7, was Gregory Park, a doctoral student in Peabody’s Department of Psychology and Human Development.

The current study looked at the educational and professional accomplishments of 2,409 adults who had been identified as being in the top 1 percent of ability 25 years earlier, at age 13.

“We found significant differences in the creative and career paths of individuals who showed different ability patterns on the math and verbal portions of the SAT at age 13,” Benbow, a member of the National Science Board and vice chair of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, said. “Individuals showing more ability in math had greater accomplishments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, while those showing greatest ability on the verbal portion of the test went on to excel in the humanities–art, history, literature, languages, drama and related fields.”

Overall, the creative potential of these participants was extraordinary. They earned a total of 817 patents and published 93 books. Of the 18 participants who later earned tenure-track positions in math/science fields at top-50 U.S. universities, their average age 13 SAT-M score was 697, and the lowest score among them was 580, a score greater than over 60%of all students who take the SAT.

Benbow believes the latest findings from SMPY may be relevant to the ongoing public discussion about education and competitiveness.

 “SMPY has already shown that highly achieving adults can be identified at an early age. These results now show us that we can also predict in which areas they are most likely to excel,” she said. “The policy question becomes: how best can we support individuals such as these, especially during their formative years, to help promote their development and success?”

The findings contradict recent reports that the SAT has no predictive value.

“The key factor in our study is that the SAT was administered at a young age,” Lubinski said. “When students take the test in high school, the most able students all score near the top, and individual differences are harder to see. Using the test with gifted students at a young age allows us to easily identify differences in strengths and abilities that could potentially be used to help shape that person’s education.”


Related story:

“Gifted Children are Being Left Behind” by Susan Goodkin and David G. Gold
Source:  San Diego Union Tribune – 29 August 2007


(3)  “What is Conceptual Understanding?” by Keith Devlin

Source: MAA Online – September 2007

Mathematics educators talk endlessly about conceptual understanding, how important it is (or isn’t) for effective math learning (depends what you classify as effective), and how best to achieve it in learners (if you want them to have it).

Conceptual understanding is one of the five strands of mathematical proficiency, the overall goal of K-12 mathematics education as set out by the National Research Council’s 1999-2000 Mathematics Learning Study Committee in their report titled Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics, published by the National Academy Press in 2001.

I’m a great fan of that book, so let me say up front that I think achieving conceptual understanding is an important component of mathematics education. That appears to pit me against one of the two opposing camps in the math wars–the skills brigade–so let me even things up a bit by adding that I think many mathematical concepts can be understood only after the learner has acquired procedural skill in using the concept. In such cases, learning can take place only by first learning to follow symbolic rules, with understanding emerging later, sometimes considerably later. That probably makes me an enemy of the other camp, the conceptual-understanding-first proponents.

I do agree with practically everyone that procedural skills that are not eventually accompanied by some form of understanding are brittle and easily lost. I believe that the need for rule-based skill acquisition before conceptual understanding can develop is in fact the norm for more advanced parts of mathematics (calculus and beyond), and I’m not convinced that it is possible to proceed otherwise in all of the more elementary parts of the subject…

My problems are, I don’t really know what others mean by [conceptual understanding]; I suspect that they often mean something different from me (though I believe that what I mean by it is the same as other professional mathematicians); and I do not know how to tell if a student really has what I mean by it.

Adding It Up defines conceptual understanding as “the comprehension of mathematical concepts, operations, and relations,” which elaborates the question but does not really answer it.

Whatever it is, how do we teach it?

The accepted wisdom for introducing a new concept in a fashion that facilitates understanding is to begin with several examples…

This idea is appealing, but not without its difficulties, the primary one being that the learner may end up with a concept different from the one the instructor intended! The difficulty arises because an abstract mathematical concept generally has fundamental features different from some or even all of the examples the learner meets. (That, after all, is one of the goals of abstraction!)…

Whereas conceptual understanding is a goal that educators should definitely strive for, we need to accept that it cannot be guaranteed, and accordingly we should allow for the learner to make progress without fully understand the concepts.

The authors of Adding It Up seem to accept this problem. Rather than insist on full understanding of the concepts, the committee explained further what they meant by “conceptual understanding” this way (p.141), “… conceptual understanding refers to an integrated and functional grasp of the mathematical ideas.”

The key term here, as I see it, is “integrated and functional grasp.” This suggests an acceptance that a realistic goal is that the learner has sufficient understanding to work intelligently and productively with the concept and to continue to make progress, while allowing for future refinement or even correction of the learner’s concept-as-understood, in the light of further experience. (It is possible I am reading something into the NRC Committee’s words that the committee did not intend. In which case I suggest that in the light of further considerations I am refining the NRC Committee’s concept of conceptual understanding!)

Enter “Functional Understanding”

I propose we call this relaxed notion of conceptual understanding functional understanding. It means, roughly speaking, understanding a concept sufficiently well to get by for the present. Because functional understanding is defined it terms of what the learner can do with it, it is possible to test if the learner has achieved it or not, which avoides my uncertainty about full conceptual understanding.

Since the distinction I am making is somewhat subtle, let me provide a dramatic example. As the person who invented calculus, it would clearly be absurd to say that Newton did not understand what he was doing. Nevertheless, he did not have (conceptual) understanding of the concepts that underlay calculus as we do today – for the simple reason that those concepts were not fully worked out until late in the nineteenth century, two-hundred-and-fifty years later. Newton’s understanding, which was surely profound, would be one of functional understanding. Euler demonstrated similar functional understanding of infinite sums, though the concepts that underpin his work were also not developed until later.

One of the principal reason why mathematics majors students progress far, far more slowly in learning new mathematical techniques at university than do their colleagues in physics and engineering, is that the mathematics faculty seek to achieve full conceptual understanding in mathematics majors, whereas what future physicists and engineers need is (at most) functional understanding. (Arguably most of them don’t really need that either; rather what they require is another of the five strands of mathematical proficiency, procedural fluency.) I have taught at universities where the engineering faculty insisted on teaching their own mathematics, precisely because they wanted their students to progress much faster (and more superficially) through the material than the mathematicians were prepared to do.

Teaching with functional understanding as a goal carries the responsibility of leaving open the possibility of future refinement or revision of the learner’s concept as and when they progress further. This means that the instructor should have a good grasp of the concept as mathematicians understand and use it. Sadly, many studies have shown that teachers often do not have such understanding, and nor do many writers of school textbooks.

I’ll give you one example of just how bad school textbooks can be. I was visiting some leading math ed specialists in Vancouver a few months ago, and we got to talking about elementary school textbooks. One of the math ed folks explained to me that teachers often explain whole number equations by asking the pupils to imagine objects placed on either side of a balance. Add equal numbers to both sides of an already balanced pairing and the balance is maintained, she explained. The problem then is how do you handle subtraction, including cases where the result is negative? I jumped in with what I thought was an amusing quip. “Well,” I said with a huge grin, “you could always ask the children to imagine helium balloons attached to either side!” At which point my math ed colleagues told me the awful truth. “That’s exactly how many elementary school textbooks do it,” one said. Seeing my incredulity, another added, “They actually have diagrams with colored helium balloons gaily floating above balances.” “Now you know what we are up against,” chimed in a third. I did indeed.

I suspect that I am not alone among MAA members in my ignorance of what goes on at the elementary school level. My professional interest in mathematics education stretches from graduate level down to the top end of the middle school range, with my level of experience and expertise decreasing as I follow that path. Sure, I can see how the helium balloon metaphor can work for the immediate task in hand of explaining how subtraction is the opposite of addition. But talk about a brittle metaphor! It not only breaks down at the very next step, it actually establishes a mental concept that simply has to be unlearned. This is surely a perfect example of using a metaphor that is not consistent with the true concept, and hence very definitely does not lead to anything that can be called conceptual understanding.

A Request

As regular readers probably know, I am a mathematician, not a professional in the field of mathematics education. I know many mathematicians, but far fewer math ed specialists. But I am interested in issues of mathematics education, and I have long felt that mathematicians have something to contribute to the field of mathematics education. (Getting rid of those floating helium balloons would be a valuable first step! Stopping teachers saying that multiplication is repeated addition would be a good second.) In fact, it strikes me as surprising that having mathematicians part of the math ed community was for long not a widely accepted no-brainer, but thankfully that now appears to be history. In any event, the above was written from my perspective as a mathematician, and I would be surprised if I have said anything that has not been put through the math ed wringer many times. Accordingly, I would be interested in receiving references to work that has been done in the area.


Mathematician Keith Devlin (email: is the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University and The Math Guy on NPR’s Weekend Edition. Devlin’s most recent book, Solving Crimes with Mathematics: THE NUMBERS BEHIND NUMB3RS, is the companion book to the television crime series NUMB3RS, and is co-written with Professor Gary Lorden of Caltech, the lead mathematics adviser on the series.


(4) Math is More: Toward a National Consensus on Improving
 U.S. Mathematics Education


The following individuals have been meeting to “frame a view on the importance of mathematics education” that they desire to share widely. Below the name/affiliations is their statement, as well as links to related Web pages.

Jere Confrey — North Carolina State University, Raleigh

Midge Cozzens — Knowles Science Teaching Foundation

John Ewing — American Mathematical Society

Gary Froelich — COMAP

Sol Garfunkel — COMAP

James Infante — Vanderbilt University (Emeritus)

Steve Leinwand — American Institutes for Research

Joseph Malkevitch — York College, CUNY

Henry Pollak — Teachers College, Columbia

Steve Rasmussen — Key Curriculum Press

Eric Robinson — Ithaca College

Alan Schoenfeld — University of California, Berkeley



Whether you are a parent or a politician, whether you work in business, industry, government or academia, the state of U.S. mathematics education is of fundamental importance to you and those you care about. As the importance of mathematical and quantitative thinking increases, we must become more focused as a nation on providing our children a better mathematical education. This is not simply about economic competitiveness or getting higher scores on international comparisons. Rather it is about equipping our children with the necessary tools to be effective citizens and skilled members of the workforce in the twenty-first century. Mathematics as a discipline and the applications of mathematics to the world around us have grown and changed significantly in the past 50 years. Our system of mathematics education must reflect that growth and change. Quite simply, math is more.

We want to do the best job possible with the most children possible. We are a group of mathematics educators, mathematicians, and concerned individuals committed to real and significant improvement in the performance of the complex system of mathematics education. To achieve this goal, however, we must be clear about what we mean. In this document, we specify ten planks that represent our beliefs and guide the direction of our efforts. It will take years of hard work by many people–teachers, administrators, policy makers, parents and students, mathematicians and mathematics educators, academics and practitioners across a wide spectrum–to achieve the goal of universal mathematical literacy and proficiency. The signers of this report commit ourselves to that effort.

Plank 1: Students need to see mathematics and the people who use mathematics in the broadest possible light.

What do we mean by mathematical literacy? First, math is more than dividing decimals or solving equations. It is more than algebra or geometry as defined by a particular syllabus or set of textbooks. Math is the use of a graph to model a street network to solve traffic snarls; it is finding the ‘distance’ between two strands of DNA to improve our understanding of the human species. It is about deduction, visualization, statistical and probabilistic reasoning, representation, and modeling. It is what enables our cell phones to work, and our MRIs to function. It gives us insight into medicine, biology, economics, business, engineering, and the ways we reason and make decisions. Mathematics education at all levels and in all courses must engage students with the practicality, the applicability, the power and the beauty of mathematics. This can be accomplished when students see mathematics as including skills, conceptual understandings and a way of reasoning.

Plank 2: Mathematics education must be viewed as a complex system requiring coherent coordination and a long-term investment in the quality of curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

We do not believe that there are quick fixes or magic bullets that will lead to significant improvements in mathematics education. Rather, we believe that improvements in this complex system will be the result of a series of substantive changes that are informed by research and guided by experimentation with the proper and rigorous evaluation of the results. But change of this magnitude takes time. Among other things, both established and new teachers need to learn and experience mathematics as the rich discipline we know it to be. Professional working conditions for teachers must allow time and opportunity for developing new understandings about mathematics, its applications and the teaching of mathematics.

Plank 3: Mathematics education at all levels, including advanced college programs, is a form of vocational and professional preparation.

We must recognize that there is a compelling national (and local) interest in the state of mathematics education. While we do not see this as a zero-sum game, with our country (or state) vying to do better than another, our overall mathematical literacy and competence is important to our economic health. Industry, in addition to government, needs to be heavily involved. Employers are after all parents and vice versa. Surely, having good high school math grades or SAT scores must be about more than getting into a good college. Being able to analyze and solve problems using quantitative reasoning is an increasingly necessary job skill. We believe that not enough emphasis has been placed on the needs of students. Their future will involve many different jobs. They will need to master current and emerging technologies. We know that they will need creativity, independence, imagination and problem-solving abilities in addition to skills proficiency. In other words, students will increasingly need advanced mathematical understanding and awareness of the tools mathematics provides to achieve their career goals.

Plank 4: A coherent set of broad national curricular goals allowing for new results from educational research should be created.

While we believe in accountability and we recognize the need for curricular coherence, we worry about the Babel of ‘Standards’ being designed by individual states, districts, and more nationally-based organizations and think tanks. National standards in the spirit of curricular goals can serve a unifying purpose. Standards must, however, be generic enough to allow for the evolution of content and pedagogy. Although there must be room for trying new ideas, standards should increasingly be grounded in robust research demonstrating student learning of important mathematical ideas. Standards at the grain size of individual skills must be avoided. We also believe that the present multiplicity and specificity of standards is a barrier to innovation by both the authors and publishers of mathematics materials.

Plank 5: The quality of instruction continues to be of critical importance to the improvement of student achievement.

The mathematics classroom is more than where students encounter formal mathematics. It is where students decide if mathematics is “for them” and where the ideas must inspire and engage. Active learning produces life-long learning. There is no substitute for curiosity, engagement, pursuit of ideas, use of prior knowledge followed by exploration, experimentation, practice and mastery. The use of applications, the design of rich interactions among students, and the creative use of technologies have produced promising results when accompanied by careful attention to students’ progress through well-understood learning progressions. Accountability is hollow if it is not accompanied by robust efforts to improve instruction, by using exciting materials, by including opportunities for teachers to be learners and to experience broader views of mathematics. Our task is to introduce students to the wonders of mathematics, while providing the discipline to regulate their own learning and to ensure proficiency and mastery. Students should not be viewed simply as consumers of mathematics education, but as active participants with the most to gain or lose. Their voices should be solicited and taken into serious consideration.

Plank 6: Programs must be developed to help all students, recognizing their diverse needs, interests, talents, and levels of motivation.

“Mathematics for All” is an important rallying cry. But to be meaningful, it requires that we recognize and act on the fact that different student populations need to be provided for differently. For a multitude of reasons, some students may be more motivated to learn than others. Some students have stronger background knowledge than others and some learn more quickly. One size does not fit all. There is research that can be brought to bear on these issues—and we need to know and do more. We cannot afford a mathematics education system that works for the few and not the many.

Plank 7: We must test what we value, both locally and nationally.

Mathematical literacy is becoming a survival skill. We strongly believe in accountability to a rich set of mathematical goals. We want students to master core facts and procedures, but this is not enough. We want conceptual understanding, problem-solving, and flexible use of the mathematics to solve both pure and applied problems. Like standards, assessments must reflect our goals—most importantly, the ability to apply mathematical reasoning to analyze and attack real-world problems. If mathematical literacy includes the ability to make use of mathematics, and we believe in the importance of mathematical literacy, then we must align our testing accordingly. Testing must not be about punishment for failure, but about giving students and teachers a clearer understanding of what they do and do not know. Testing should inform instruction, not determine it.

Plank 8: We must continue to develop and research new materials and pedagogies and translate that research into improved classroom practice.

Education, as a scientific discipline, is a young field with an active community focused on R&D—research on learning coupled with the development of new and better curriculum materials. In truth, however, much of the work is better described as D&R—informed and thoughtful development followed by careful analysis of results. It is in the nature of the enterprise that we cannot discover what works before we create the what. Curriculum development, in particular, is best related to an engineering paradigm. In order to test the efficacy of an approach, we must analyze needs, examine existing programs, build an improved model program, and test it—in the same way we build scale models to design a better bridge or building. This kind of iterative D&R leads to new and more effective materials and new pedagogical approaches that better incorporate the growing body of knowledge of cognitive science. We understand that educational research has not yet provided all of the answers to how to best help children learn mathematics. However, there is a great deal that we do know about the motivational power of applications, the effectiveness of appropriate learning technologies, the use of collaborative learning with children, and the use of lesson- and case-study programs with teachers.

Plank 9: Our country must make a major investment over the coming decade to sustain and rejuvenate the ranks of mathematics teachers in our nation’s 

Many mathematics classrooms are staffed with unqualified teachers. This is because school administrators can neither find enough qualified teachers nor provide adequate resources to upgrade staff qualifications. Mandates that every teacher be qualified won’t improve the situation until there is a sufficient supply of mathematics teachers to meet the demand. To stave off this foreseeable crisis in our math classrooms, our nation needs to act to increase the numbers of young people entering mathematics and mathematics education disciplines in our universities and to significantly improve the continuing education of existing teachers. We must ensure that their education prepares them for current educational realities and that their working conditions as teachers permit them continuous mathematical and pedagogical improvements. We need to find more ways to support new teachers through the difficult induction years, especially young people who commit to teach in our least successful schools.

Plank 10: We must build a sustainable system for monitoring and improving mathematics education.

Perhaps the most important point is that our work must be sustainable. Just as with our students, we need to be there throughout the learning process—watching out for necessary course corrections and building with a long-range view. Too often in the past we have reacted to crises, whether it be Sputnik and fear of losing the space race, being overtaken economically by Japan, or out-sourcing our manufacturing jobs to China and India. Reports are written decrying the current state of affairs and funding is made available. But the need for excellent mathematics education will always be with us. We must build an infrastructure that recognizes this fact, and devotes consistent attention and resources to addressing the challenge of high quality mathematics for all, rather than a cycle of investment, neglect, investment…

The authors of this document share many beliefs–that mathematics is important as a discipline, as a field full of wonder and beauty, as a tool for modeling our world, as a prerequisite for knowledgeable citizenship in a participatory democracy, and as a means to better jobs and a better quality of life. We hold strong views on the importance of education in general and mathematics education in particular. We do not agree on all things, but we are, and intend to remain, inclusive. Clearly there is much substance and detail that can be added to these planks. We need many voices and many hands and we call on you to join with us to ensure that every child receives the best mathematics education possible and recognizes that in their future, math is more.


Frequently Asked Questions




(1) California Mathematics Council (CMC) Conferences

URL (CMC-South):
URL (CMC-North):
URL (CMC-Central):

Each year, the California Mathematics Council (CMC) hosts three regional conferences: one in Palm Springs (CMC-South), one on the Asilomar Conference Grounds (CMC-North), and one in the Monterey area (CMC-Central).

CMC-S: “This is the largest of our three fall conferences. It is held the weekend after the first Thursday of November. [This year’s dates are November 2-3.] The Palm Springs Convention Center is the hub of the conference, along with the Hilton, Spa, Wyndham, and Hyatt Hotels.” NOTE: Full-time college students are eligible to attend the conference free of charge and also receive a free one-year membership to CMC if they serve as Student Hosts. The application form is available at Contact Mark Ellis at CSU-Fullerton ( for more information.

CMC-N: “This is the oldest of our three fall conferences; we’ve had 60 CMC North conferences and 50 have been at this one venue. It is held one week after Thanksgiving, the weekend surrounding the first Saturday in December. The beautiful, historic Asilomar Conference Grounds on the Monterey Peninsula has been the setting for 50 years. This year’s theme is ‘Making the Most of Golden Opportunities: Our 50th Celebration.'”  The dates of this conference are November 30-December 2, 2007.

CMC-Central: “This symposium [Pre-K to 12 Algebra Symposium] is presented in a format which has garnered much praise from the participants each year. It is an all ‘workshop’ format; everyone at a particular grade level is assigned to a single session for an all-morning, intensive workshop, and to another session for the afternoon.” The next symposium will be held on March 7-8, 2008 at the Embassy Suites in Seaside (Monterey Bay Peninsula).


Programs for the CMC-South and CMC-North conferences were mailed to CMC members this past week, and Web-based registration information is expected to be available next week on the above Web sites.