An Historical Examination of the Secondary Mathematics Curriculum in Ontario Through Two Lenses: Curriculum Policy Documents and Reflections of Leaders in the Field

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Mueller, Steven
mathematics , curriculum , Ontario
The secondary mathematics curriculum in Ontario has gone through many revisions and renewals during the past 60 years. Current curriculum and policy documents are readily available, yet previous documents are not easily accessible. There is a dearth of literature on historical changes to the Ontario secondary math curriculum, especially from the perspective of the mathematics education leaders. By performing a document analysis of historical secondary mathematics curriculum in Ontario and then interviewing mathematics leaders who have been involved in several change/revision processes, this descriptive study seeks to document the changes to and influences on the Ontario secondary mathematics curriculum since the 1960s. This study identified keys trends in changes to Ontario mathematics curriculum documents. These trends include an increased focus on teaching methodologies within the document, removal of topics such as conics and proofs with the reduction of the secondary program to four years and an overall increased focus on calculus. By contrasting document changes to both previous literature and interviews conducted in this study, possible triggering events, such as mathematical movements or new political parties elected, were identified for each curriculum revision. By comparing and contrasting experiences of leaders with existing literature suggestions for future curriculum revisions processes are proposed such as a provincial scoping survey prior to the start of the writing process and sufficient time for field testing and implementation.
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