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Allgemeinbildung, mathematical literacy, and competence orientation

Rolf Biehler

pp. 141-170

The first part of this chapter has been written by Rolf Biehler on the basis of his presentation at ICME 13. Mogens Niss was invited to react to this presentation at ICME 13 and elaborated his reaction as the second part of this chapter. Although the authors are only responsible for their respective sections, they both belong together and are therefore published here as a joint chapter. The first part gives a sketch of the discussion on "Allgemeinbildung" (general education for all) and mathematical literacy in Germany from the late 1960s to today. In the 1970s, educational goals for Allgemeinbildung were condensed in different visions, for example, a 'scientifically educated human being", a "reflected citizen", an "emancipated individual being able to critique society", and a person "well educated for the needs of the economic system". In the early 1990s, a book by H. W. Heymann on Allgemeinbildung and mathematics education initiated a controversial discussion, which will be critically examined and related to other conceptions. Due to bad results in TIMSS (Third International Mathematics and Science Study) and PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) starting in the late 1990s, a new discussion on educational goals in mathematics arose and made PISA's conception of mathematical literacy popular in Germany. However, the idea of mathematical literacy was modified and extended by the German debate, some traits of which can be traced back to Humboldt and the 19th century. In his reaction "Allgemeinbildung, mathematical competencies and mathematical literacy: Conflict or compatibility?" Mogens Niss relates the German discussions to the international development on competence orientation, featuring the KOM project (Competencies and Mathematical Learning), including the various conceptualisations in the PISA frameworks.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-11069-7_6

Full citation:

Biehler, R. (2019)., Allgemeinbildung, mathematical literacy, and competence orientation, in L. Hefendehl-Hebeker (ed.), Traditions in German-speaking mathematics education research, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 141-170.

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