Alan Schoenfeld awarded highest international distinction in math education

February 15, 2012
By: Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations

Alan Schoenfeld, a professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education, has received the 2011 Felix Klein Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the International Commission on Mathematics Instruction.

The award is the highest international distinction in math education.

Alan Schoenfeld.

Schoenfeld is the second American scholar to receive the honor that was instituted in 2003, and the fifth winner of the prize. He will be honored by the committee in ceremonies in Seoul, Korea, later this year.

“I love mathematics, and I love helping teachers and students learn about the riches of mathematical thinking and problem solving,” said Schoenfeld, the Elizabeth and Edward Connor Professor of Education and an affiliated professor of mathematics. “It’s great to be recognized for working on things I’m passionate about.”

In its awards citation, the International Commission recognized the outstanding achievements made in the past 30 years by Schoenfeld in mathematics education research and development.

“Schoenfeld developed a keen interest in mathematics education early in his career, and emerged as a leader in research on mathematical problem solving,” according to the commission citation. “He shows a lifelong pursuit of deeper understanding of the nature and development of mathematical learning and teaching. His work has helped to shape research and theory development in these areas, making a seminal impact on subsequent research.”

Schoenfeld also was commended for his fundamental theoretical and applied work connecting research and practice in assessment, mathematical curriculum, diversity in mathematics education, research methodology and teacher education.

He has more than 200 highly-cited publications in mathematics education, mathematics, educational research and educational psychology, including his highly-cited, groundbreaking book,“Mathematical Problem Solving” (1985).

After obtaining a B.A. in mathematics from Queen’s College, New York, in 1968, and an M.S in mathematics from Stanford University in 1969, he earned a Ph.D. in mathematics at Stanford in 1973. He became a lecturer at UC Davis in 1973, and in 1975 became a lecturer and research mathematician at UC Berkeley. After academic appointments at Hamilton College and the University of Rochester, Schoenfeld returned to UC Berkeley in 1985 to develop the mathematics education group.

He has been an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Education since 1994 and served as its vice president from 2001-2005. He also was president of the American Educational Research Association from 1999-2000.