Note: A previous version of this paper was presented at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Research Pre-Session in San Diego (April 2010) and the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Denver (April 2010).
The NCTM Standards presents an ambitious vision for high-quality mathematics instruction and proposes forms of instructional practice that support the development of students’ understanding of central mathematical ideas. We argue that this vision does not provide detailed guidance about how to ensure that instruction is equitable. Equity, in this context, means that all students can participate substantially in all phases of mathematics lessons. The goal of this article is to refine the vision proposed by NCTM to suggest how it could be equitable as well as ambitious. To this end, we identify several concrete instructional practices likely to support all students’ substantial participation in various phases of lessons. Given the limited research base on equitable mathematics instruction, the resulting vision is necessarily provisional and requires further research. We outline a research agenda for identifying additional instructional practices that might support all students to participate substantially in all phases of mathematics lessons.