The 2017 ISDDE Prize
for Lifetime Achievement in Educational Design

Kaye Stacey and Zalman Usiskin

Unusually this year the International Society for Design and Development in Education (ISDDE) has awarded the prestigious 2017 Life Time achievement award for Excellence in Educational Design to each of Professor Emeritus Kaye Stacey of the University of Melbourne, Australia, and Professor Emeritus Zalman Usiskin of the University of Chicago, USA, each of whom receive $5,000.

“This award recognizes the major contribution these two brilliant designers have made to the field of mathematics education over many years,” said Lynne McClure, Chair of ISDDE and Director of Cambridge Mathematics. “Each has worked over many years providing research-led products including assessment and classroom materials that have had major impact on the teaching of mathematics in their own countries and across the world,” she added.

Kaye Stacey, of the University of Melbourne, has over 40 years played a leading design role in major projects at state, national and international level – for example, the Victoria Certificate of Education in mathematics, the development of the Smart tests, and as Chair of the Mathematics Expert Group for PISA.  She is now a director of the reSolve: Mathematics by Inquiry project, a curriculum development project funded by the Australian Academy of Sciences.  Her work may be considered to range across three distinct themes:

  • Problem Solving and Mathematical Modelling
  • Using new technologies to do mathematics
  • Understanding students’ thinking

In each of these areas she has turned her and others’ insight-focused research into tools for practitioners, using an exemplary process of imaginative design and careful iterative development. Under each of these themes the outcomes of her research and associated key products, meet the criteria for the ISDDE Lifetime Achievement Award at the highest high level.

Zalman Usiskin has made a major contribution to the development of the mathematics curriculum in the United States for over five decades. This was recognized in 2014 when the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) published a collection of his writings and presentations over this time. This publication provides evidence of the high regard peers have of his work and his recognition as an international leader in mathematics curriculum. The volume represents rare but deserved recognition of the lasting value of his ideas and perspectives.

Perhaps Zalman Usiskin’s most significant curriculum development contribution has been as lead designer and Director of the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project, a 7-12 (and later a K-12) mathematics curriculum project. For more than 20 years he spearheaded the development of middle and high school mathematics textbooks based on his vision of increased attention to applications. His leadership was instrumental in ushering a wave of curriculum reform efforts in the 1990s in the U.S. funded by the National Science Foundation. The materials developed by the UCSMP group, under Usiskin’s direction, have, over many years, set the standard for serious curriculum reform efforts based on professional experience and research regarding student learning.

It is safe to say that his curriculum materials have impacted the mathematics learning of millions of students and thousands of mathematics teachers. After nearly a half-century of contributions to mathematics curriculum, his energy and dedication to improve the quality and impact of mathematics curriculum materials continues unabated.