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Alan H. Schoenfeld

Professor *
Ph.D. in Mathematics, 1973, Stanford University
M.S. in Mathematics, 1969, Stanford University
B.A. in Mathematics, 1968, Queens College, New York

Alan Schoenfeld is the Elizabeth and Edward Conner Professor of Education and Affiliated Professor of Mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and a Laureate of the education honor society Kappa Delta Pi, Schoenfeld has served as President of AERA and vice President of the National Academy of Education. He holds the International Commission on Mathematics Instruction’s Klein Medal, the highest international distinction in mathematics education; AERA's Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education award, AERA’s highest honor; and the Mathematical Association of America’s Mary P. Dolciani award, given to a pure or applied mathematician for distinguished contributions to the mathematical education of K-16 students. 

Schoenfeld’s main focus is on Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU). An introduction to the TRU framework and a collection of tools for improving teaching and learning can be found in An Introduction to the Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU) Framework. To learn about where the TRU framework came from and what it does, see Classroom Observations in Theory and Practice. The big picture can be seen in What makes for Powerful Classrooms? and a discussion of how the framework can be used systemically can be found in Thoughts on Scale. The TRU project's ongoing work can be found at the project web site,

Schoenfeld's research deals broadly with thinking, teaching, and learning. His book, Mathematical Problem Solving, characterizes what it means to think mathematically and describes a research-based undergraduate course in mathematical problem solving. Schoenfeld led the Balanced Assessment project and was one of the leaders of the NSF-sponsored center for Diversity in Mathematics Education (DiME). The DiME Center was awarded the AERA Division G Henry T. Trueba Award for Research Leading to the Transformation of the Social Contexts of Education. He was lead author for grades 9-12 of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. He was one of the founding editors of Research in Collegiate Mathematics Education, and has served as associate editor of Cognition and Instruction. He has served as senior advisor to the Educational Human Resources Directorate of the National Science Foundation, and senior content advisor to the U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse. In 2014 the California Mathematics Council granted Schoenfeld the sixth Walter Denham Memorial award for being an unwavering advocate for excellence in the teaching and learning of mathematics.

Schoenfeld was also a lead author for the mathematics content specifications for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. In his essay, Common Sense About the Common Core, Schoenfeld answers key questions and clears up common misconceptions about Common Core's mathematics standards.

Schoenfeld has written, edited, or co-edited twenty-two books and more than two hundred articles on thinking and learning. He has an ongoing interest in the development of productive mechanisms for systemic change and for deepening the connections between educational research and practice. His most recent book, How we Think, provides detailed models of human decision making in complex situations such as teaching, and his current research focuses on the attributes of classrooms that produce students who are powerful thinkers.  Schoenfeld's current projects (TRU-Lesson Study, funded by NSF; the Mathematics Assessment Project (MAP) and Formative assessment with Computational Technologies (FACT), funded by the Gates Foundation; and work with the San Francisco and Oakland Unified School Districts under the auspices of the National Research Council's SERP project) all focus on understanding and enhancing mathematics teaching and learning.

Teachers try to help their students learn. But why do they make the particular teaching choices they do? What resources do they draw upon? What accounts for the success or failure of their efforts? In How We Think, Alan Schoenfeld proposes a groundbreaking theory and model for how we think and act in the classroom and beyond. Read more … Alan Schoenfeld and long-time collaborator and friend Günter Törner have worked for decades to improve mathematics education. In this volume, scholars from around the globe reflect on how the work of Schoenfeld and Törner has inspired and shaped their own research. Read more …


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