CCR announces SSATB as new partner

The Center for Curriculum Redesign (CCR)  is very pleased to announce that the Secondary School Admission Test Board has joined as a partner.

Heather Hoerle, Executive Director, stated:  “We are pleased to offer SSATB’s support to the Center for Curriculum Redesign. SSATB’s mission of “providing unparalleled leadership and service in meeting the admission assessment and enrollment needs of schools, students, and families” will be fully realized through strategic partnerships with forward thinking organizations like CCR.  She also stated: “CCR’s vision to challenge, explore, and redefine curriculum is critical to the future of each learner”.

CCR announces global conference on Character Education

The Center for Curriculum Redesign, in partnership with the OECD/CERI, is pleased to announce Character Education for a Challenging Century, a global conference in Geneva, Switzerland, and online via video, October 22-24, 2014.

The conference will bring together a global, growing community focused on the theme of “Character education for success in life and work” at the International School of Geneva and online. Leading educators, policymakers, executives, and spiritual leaders will discuss solutions to the crucial questions: Which character traits matter most for the 21st century? And how are they best developed?

Please help us spread the word to your networks, and we hope to see you in Geneva or online.  Register at: 

Mathematics for the 21st Century: CCR publishes its recommendations in three concise papers

Thanks to generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Fondation Henri Moser, the Center for Curriculum Redesign has worked during the past two years to synthesize research on Mathematics education around the world – as related to the central question: “What should students learn for the 21st century?”

The recommendations are now published as three succinct papers, which describe the goals for redesigning standards for Mathematics for the 21st Century:

  1. Maths Branches Subjects and Topics – CCR
  2. Maths Methods & Tools – CCR
  3. Maths Concepts & Processes – CCR

and the supporting paper: Maths & Higher-order Thinking Skills – CCR

The recommendations have incorporated copious input and feedback from: CCR member jurisdictions; many invited experts at its Stockholm conference; and an experts’ colloquium in East Hampton NY.

As always, the CCR remains open to constructive suggestions and creative ideas, so please feel free to contact us at

CCR’s third colloquium on “AI/Robotics and Employability” highlights the complexity of broad predictions

“Hype vs. Reality:  A.I./Robotics and impact on employability” was the theme of the third CCR colloquium on the topic (see agenda and past colloquia: #2 and #1). Several leading economists and technologists (participants and bios) debated the potential impact of technology on employability, starting with a critique of the Oxford Martin Study: The_Future_of_Employment_OMS_Working_Paper_1.

The presentations were given by: (alphabetically)

The consensus reflected the following views:

  • Routine tasks will remain the most automatable, for the foreseeable future.  Even some facets of innovative and creative activities might become automatable.
  • The full-fledged adoption of technologies generally takes much longer than initially anticipated, yet often strikes deeper eventually than assumed a priori.
  • Robust occupations will be those that are “full of challenges with new discoveries to be made, new performances to be obtained, new things to be learned and shared with others“.
  • Occupations that will see an increase in demand are so-called T-shaped (requiring both depth and breadth) with deep expertise and complex communications skills.
  • Further progress on predictability would require a deep, sector-by-sector analysis, and cannot be achieved by a top-down review.
  • The ultimate challenge in predictability is due to the parameters being numerous, variable, with wide “error bars”, and temporally interplaying with each other.

The Center for Curriculum Redesign is grateful to the Hewlett Foundation, the USCIB Foundation and the McGraw-Hill Financial – Global Institute for their support of the research and the event.

The State of Victoria joins the CCR – eight key PISA jurisdiction to participate

We are very pleased to announce that Victoria (Australia) is the eight key PISA jurisdiction to join the Center for Curriculum Redesign.  Richard Bolt, Secretary for Education, stated: ““The innovative work of your Center as a thought leader… is both timely and important”.  We look forward to enhanced collaboration between all the CCR participants.

Curriculum reform is #1 priority of employer organizations in 27 countries

A recent survey published by the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC*) highlights that employers in 27 countries consider that curriculum reform should be the first priority in schools.  Evidently, this emphasis is directly aligned with the Center’s core mission.

The report states:  “It is interesting to note that the most commonly selected priority is school curricula reform, closely followed by linking education to labour market needs and improving co-operation with employers… it is interesting to note in Chart 3(a) that many business and employers’ organisations do wish to build closer co-operation at this level of education. Improving teaching quality and training, including VET and school leaders, is also a high priority for employers in many countries according to the survey results.

Given the attention attributed to curriculum reform, the survey requested specific details from respondents about which elements of the curriculum should be strengthened in their respective countries. The results are shown in Chart 3(b) . According to the responses, it appears that employers most commonly believe that more emphasis is needed on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in national curricula. This is closely followed by enhancing focus on core skills such as numeracy and literacy, as well as critical thinking and communication skills. In some countries, business and employers organisations also attribute importance to enhancing language skills, as well as basic economics and personal finance.”

*BIAC is the officially recognised representative of the OECD business community.  Founded in 1962 as an independent organisation, BIAC’s members are the major business organisations in the OECD member countries and a number of OECD observer countries.

The full text of the press release can be found below:

BIAC Media Release

Employers call for closer Co-operation in Education Policy and Reform of School Curricula


Paris, 6 June 2013 – According to an international survey of national business and employers’ organisations, the private sector is calling for education systems to focus more closely on the needs of labour markets.

The employers’ survey was carried out by the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD, and includes responses from 28 leading national business and employers’ organisations in 27 countries spanning several continents.

Commenting upon the results, Mr. Attilio Oliva, Chair of the BIAC Education Committee, stated that “The high level of unemployment in many economies around the world is a painful reminder of the crucial importance of helping every person of any working age become as employable as possible – not only in the current economic period, but also for any moment in one’s future working life”.

Survey responses show that it is necessary to deepen co-operation between employers, policy makers and education institutions in order to design reforms that improve education systems – in schools, higher education and vocational training. This should also be an important element of the OECD Action Plan for Youth, to which the OECD Ministerial Council committed on 29 May 2013.

At the school-level, for example, the survey results suggest that reforming curricula is a top priority for employers. This should include increased focus on “STEM” (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), as well as skills such as reading, numeracy, communication and critical thinking, among others.

The BIAC survey reinforces the point that employers care deeply about skills and we must all work together to boost the quality of our education systems,” Mr. Oliva added. “Improving education is essential for people to find jobs, for employers to find employees with relevant skills, and for our economies and societies as a whole to thrive”.


Stockholm Declaration on Mathematics for the 21st century published by CCR

On the heels of its April 24-26, in Stockholm, Sweden, the Center for Curriculum Redesign is pleased to publish the “Stockholm Declaration” as a statement of intent.

The conference, attended by more than 100 participants from around the world and which included several members of the OECD/PISA Mathematics team, reaffirmed the need to deeply redesign Mathematics standards.  The aim is to better reflect relevance to Society and employability, via a deep rethinking of which branches and topics increasingly matter.

The CCR intends to run two more experts meetings before the end of 2013, after which it will publish its standards recommendations.

Global Maths conference affirms the need to deeply redesign Mathematics standards

On April 22-24, 2013 the CCR hosted its “21st Century Mathematics” conference in Stockholm, Sweden which attracted numerous influential participants from over twenty countries.  The final agenda is given here.

The CCR is grateful to the Confederation of Swedish Enterprises and the OECD for their partnership, as well as to the Gates Foundation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and the Moser Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland) for their generous support.

The conference presentations are available below:

  • Greetings and Introduction: Charles Fadel (CCR & BIAC)
  • Presentation: “Why should we fix this urgently?”  Åke Svensson (CEO – Teknikföretagen)
  • Short remarks on importance to OECD countries – Dirk Van Damme (OECD/CERI)
  • Presentation: Why Curriculum Redesign? Why Maths? Exponential technologies and their impact on humankind – Charles Fadel (Center for Curriculum Redesign)
  • Presentation: “Mathematicians’ reluctance to embrace uncertainty (zero, probabilities, incompleteness)” Michael Kaplan (author, “Chances are”)
  • Presentation: Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology of Mathematics –  Jon Star (Harvard University)
  • Presentation: Mathematics standards of PISA countries – William Schmidt (Michigan State University)
  • Presentation: Why do we teach Mathematics? (CCR to facilitate)
  • Presentation Katz ; Presentation Dauben:  The History of Mathematics teaching; the tension between practice and theory – Joseph Dauben (City University of New York)
  • Video: Teaching Complex Dynamical Systems at Ross schools
  • Presentation: Mathematics and PISA’s future – Dirk Van Damme (OECD/CERI)
  • Presentation: Mathematical Thinking – Keith Devlin (Stanford University)
  • Presentation: Mathematics and the drift towards Purity – Sverker Lundin (University of Gothenburg)
  • Presentation: Stop Teaching Calculating, Start Teaching Maths – Conrad Wolfram (Wolfram Research)
  • Presentation: Mathematics and 21st century skills: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration (Michael Pearson, Mathematical Association of America)
  • Presentation: The importance of Computational Thinking – Maggie Johnson (Google)
  • Presentation: The Power of Visualizations – Staffan Landen (Karolinska Institutet and
  • Presentation: Many Eyes – Irene Greif (IBM)
  • Presentation: “Street-fighting” Mathematics for Everyone – Sanjoy Mahajan (MIT & Olin College)
  • Presentation: Workplace Mathematics – Arthur Bakker (Freudenthal Institute)
  • Presentation: What Mathematics does the workforce really use? – Merrilea Mayo (Kellogg Foundation)
  • Conclusion: “The Stockholm Declaration: Mathematics for the 21st century” (All participants, led by CCR)

CCR announces “21st Century Mathematics” conference –

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the “21st Century Mathematics” conference in Stockholm, Sweden, April 22-24, 2013 in partnership with the OECD/CERI and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.  This conference will be unique in addressing some of the most vexing issues faced by governments while adapting Mathematics standards to the needs of the 21stcentury.

The conference enjoys the generous support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Henri Moser Foundation, and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.  We are truly grateful for their support.

We look forward to seeing you there.  For details and registration, please visit: