Russian School Math. A Comparative Study

The Euler Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia
September 7, 2009

Russian mathematics of the 20th century (especially after WWII) gave the world many prominent mathematicians and a whole school of research. This was due to the system of selecting mathematically gifted students established by such personalities as Khinchin, Kolmogorov, Arnold and many others, but also by elevating the level of mass mathematics education. (Russian success in science and technology-the Sputnik effect-even caused radical efforts in American education.) But over the last decades, Russian mathematicians are observing a decline of the level of mathematical students, as well as of the level of general mathematical culture.

In attempts to further develop content and methods for Russian school mathematics, we need to better understand the international context and to obtain some momenta from other mathematical communities. These are the reasons for which the Commission on School Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) started this study. The Academy is joined in this project by the Moscow Institute of Open Education and the Moscow Center for Continuous Mathematical Education . The Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation confirmed its support for the project. (It took some time considering the budget difficulties of the year 2009).

The study is so important now also because of the responsibility of its Russian participants to provide the framework for the Russian Unified Examination in math for the year 2010.