Jere Confrey is the Joseph D. Moore Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Education at North Carolina State University. She is currently designing interactive diagnostic assessment systems. She served on the National Validation Committee on the Common Core State Standards. She was Vice Chairman of the Mathematics Sciences Education Board, National Academy of Sciences (1998–2004). She chaired the NRC Committee, which produced On Evaluating Curricular Effectiveness, and was a coauthor of NRC’s Scientific Research in Education. She co-founded the UTEACH program at the University of Texas in Austin. Dr. Confrey received a Ph.D in mathematics education from Cornell University.

Confrey J. (1983) Young women, constructivism and the learning of mathematics. In: Bergeron J. & Herscovics N. (eds.) , Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education Volume 2. University of Quebec-Montreal, Montreal: 232–238.

Confrey J. (1985) Towards a framework for constructivist instruction. In: Streefland L. (ed.) , Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. Volume 1. State University of Utrecht, Noordwijkerhout: 477–483.

Confrey J. (1987) The constructivist. In: Bergeron J., Herscovics N. & Kieran C. (eds.) Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Volume 3. University of Montreal, Montreal: 307–317.

Confrey J. (1990) What constructivism implies for teaching. In: Davis R. B., Maher C. A. & Noddings N. (eds.) Constructivist views on the teaching and learning of mathematics. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston VA: 107–124. https://cepa.info/3879

In this chapter, a critique of direct instruction is followed by a theoretical discussion of constructivism, and by a consideration of what constructivism means to a classroom teacher. A model of instruction is proposed with six components: the promotion of student autonomy, the development of reflective processes, the construction of case histories, the identification and negotiation of tentative solution paths, the retracing and group discussion of the paths, and the adherence to the intent of the materials. Examples of each component are provided.

Confrey J. (1991) Steering a course between Vygotsky and Piaget. Educational Researcher 20(8): 28–32. https://cepa.info/8077

Excerpt: Review of: Soviet Studies in Mathematics Education: Volume 2. Types of Generalization in Instruction. V. V. Davydov (Volume edited by Jeremy Kilpatrick; translated by Joan Teller). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1990. Originally written in 1972, the book remains useful to educational researchers, including those beyond the mathematics educational community, because its major theory of dialectical materialism offers a view of knowledge that has a significant role for “activity.” It connects activity to a reinterpretation of the relationship between empirical and theoretical knowledge. In doing so, the work addresses such classroom issues as how to avoid the separation between abstract theoretical presentations and practical activity, and between superficial learning via imitation and repetition and a deeper understanding of the structure of the concepts. Ultimately the success of the volume will be assessed in relation to the studies it spawns, because the book is primarily a theoretical exposition. There is a paucity of examples and references to specific classroom-based studies, an absence recognized and noted by the author. Nonetheless Davydov’s theoretical presentation merits careful analysis and critique.

Confrey J. (1993) Learning to see children’s mathematics: Crucial challenges in constructivist reform. In: Tobin K. (ed.) , Constructivist perspectives in science and mathematics. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington DC: 299–321.

Confrey J. (1994) A theory of intellectual development, Part I: Radical constructivism. For the Learning of Mathematics 14(3): 2–8. https://cepa.info/3875

Part 1 of a three-part article analyzing radical constructivism (as one interpretation of Piaget) and the socio-cultural perspective (as one interpretation of Vygotsky), including major principles, primary contributions to mathematics education, and potential limitations. Introduces an integration of the two theories through a feminist perspective.

Confrey J. (1994) “Voix et perspective”: à l’écoute des innovations épistémologiques des étudiants et des étudiantes. Revue des sciences de l’éducation 20(1): 115–133. https://cepa.info/5947

Radical constructivism is argued to differ from many other interpretations of constructivism in North America due to its emphasis on the epistemological impact of student inventions. It recognizes that students’ views are not simply inadequate or incomplete adult views, and it allows for the reconceptualization of the mathematical content of the expert in light of student invention. Two examples of student work are examined for their epistemological content. One example is drawn from a fourth grade class learning about least common denominators. The other is from a teaching experiment with a college freshman about exponential functions. A distinction between “voice” and “perspective” is introduced to differentiate between the epistemological content attributed to the student (voice) and its impact on the knowledge of the expert (perspective).

Confrey J. (1995) A theory of intellectual development, Part II: Socio-cultural perspective. For the Learning of Mathematics 15(1): 38–48. https://cepa.info/3874

Demonstrates that Vygotskian theory can support two opposing interpretations: supporting reform and undermining reform. Discussion is organized by: sociocultural perspectives, Marxist influences on historical analysis and the role of labor, semiotics and psychological tools, dialectic of thought and language, conceptual development, and learning and development.

Confrey J. (1995) A theory of intellectual development, Part III: A framework for a revised perspective. For the Learning of Mathematics 15(2): 36–45. https://cepa.info/3873

Presents a theory of intellectual development in which human development depends on environment, self is autonomous and communal, diversity and dissent are anticipated, emotional intelligence is acknowledged, abstraction is reconceptualized and placed in a dialectic, learning is a reciprocal activity, and classrooms are interactions among interactions.