Research in Mathematics Education
Another way to measure the development of mathematics education in these countries is to consider the place of research in mathematics education. The situation with respect to such research varies greatly from country to country in this region.
For several decades educational research in Colombia has been supported by academics who earned doctorates in various countries of Europe and North America. They have influenced the teaching and research in many institutions. In the last 20 years much research in mathematics education has been done by students earning master’s and doctoral degrees. Although in Colombia research has been included in the goals of teacher education programs, particularly at the master’s and doctoral level, there have not been many opportunities to in the action of elementary and secondary classrooms to develop such research.
In Venezuela research activities in mathematics education are part of graduate programs where it is possible to work on various lines of research with various research groups. Undergraduate programs in Venezuela also require courses in research, although very general, and often oriented towards the basic classroom activity, but the programs themselves are not enriched by research.
In the Dominican Republic educational research is not well-developed and mostly relates to gathering basic information on school achievement. Research in mathematics education is almost non-existent.
Beginning in the 1980s research in mathematics education has been developed in Costa Rica with various strengths in some of the public universities. One important element has been the existence of a consolidated team of researchers in mathematics education that is one of the strongest in Latin America with broad international connections. However, their work has had very little influence on most mathematics pre-service teacher education programs in the universities. A significant moment occurred in 2012 that established a “before and after”: a new national mathematics curriculum. Both the curriculum and associated implementation strategies have condensed in an original and clever form national and international research and experience in mathematics education. A political window opened in 2010 that allowed a group of researchers to guide a true revolution in the teaching and learning of mathematics. There are few cases in the world where the conjunction of academic research and national politics leads to such an incredible impact for the entire country.
Research in mathematics education has an important place in Colombia, closely associated with graduate programs, professional associations and academic networks. In Venezuela it is associated with graduate programs, and some research groups and teacher associations. In Costa Rica, although also important, it has not impacted initial teacher preparation programs directly, but has played a decisive role in the recent design and implementation of the new national curriculum. In the Dominican Republic, there is very little research specifically related to mathematics education.