FITCHBURG, WI, September 24, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Thomas A. Romberg has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Professor Romberg's exemplary performance in mathematics education was born out of his academic journey. In 1955 he obtained a Bachelor of Science in mathematics, and in 1958 a Master of Science in secondary education from the University of Omaha. Following military service and teaching mathematics in high school and college he continued his education receiving a Doctor of Philosophy in mathematics education from Stanford University in 1968.
In 1967 he joined the education faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over the next 40+ years he enjoyed great success as a professor of mathematics education where he was awarded a Faculty Achievement Award, a Bascom Professorship in Mathematics Education, and an Emeritus Professorship in Curriculum and Instruction.
He became internationally known for two professional services. The first, in 1986 he was chosen to Chair the Commission on Standards for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. That group produced the curriculum, evaluation, and assessment standards for mathematics. The documents produced by NCTM became the basis for what is now the nearly universal standards-bases educational movement. The second service was in 1987 when he became Director of the National Center for Research on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics for the U.S. Department of Education. Consequently, he became the U.S. representative for three presidents, and their Secretaries of Education to several international meetings, commissions, etc. For example, he was the US representative to OECD's PISA project to develop and administer a new test to compare school mathematics achievement in the world. Over the next 10+ years this responsibility led Professor Romberg to visit over 50 countries giving lectures, consulting, etc.
Furthermore, the work and publications of the Research Center was focused on the shift from behavioral learning of initial computational skills to cognitive learning of those same skills. The details of this shift were published in 1982 (and republished in 2021) in Carpenter, Moser, and Romberg Addition and Subtraction: A Cognitive Perspective. A later book Powerful Practices (Carpenter and Romberg, 2003) summarized the features of the cognitive approach to mathematics instruction. One feature involved the use of contexts to introduce students to new ideas. In 1995 the National Science Foundation funded the preparation and later the evaluation of a variety of instructional activities using contexts related to real situations. These examples gradually grew to be a middle school mathematics curriculum. Mathematics in Context. This project was directed by Professor Romberg with the help of Dutch scholars from the Freudenthal Institute at the University of Utrecht. This project contributed to the over 30 books and over 300 research papers he authored.
Professor Romberg also served in several other academic positions; In 1969 he had a Fullbright Fellowship to the U.S.S.R. In 1969 he was an NSF Visiting Summer School Professor to the University of Delhi, India. Then in 1969 he was a mathematics teacher at an NSF sponsored Summer School for teachers in US Dependent Schools in Europe. In 1977-78 he was a Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania, Australia. In 1998-99 he was a Spencer Fellow at the center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Finally in 2002 he had an NSF appointment to evaluate the impact of South African Mathematics Teachers from black universities on their involvement in twelve historically white South African state universities.
Professor Romberg has accrued many honors during his career, including being introduced as Mathematics Educator of the 20th Century in several meetings and conferences. His accolades include Distinguished Alumni Awards from Omaha North High School, University of Nebraska-Omaha, and Stanford University. Awards from professional organizations such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Lifetime Achievement Medal; or the American Educational Research Educations' awards for Research Review, Interpretive Scholarship, Professional Service, and fellowship in the association; or the Wisconsin Mathematics Teachers Association their Distinguished Achievement Award. From the University of South Africa, he received the-International Distinguished Leadership in Mathematics Education Award. Finally, from the U.S. National Academy of Education he was elected to Membership in the Academy.
In accounting for his standout success, Mr. Romberg is most proud to have supervised over 100 doctoral students. In a career suffused with highlights, he is also gratified to have led his team in arranging the curriculum evaluation standards in 1989. Now retired, in the coming years Mr. Romberg would like to publish a summary of his career in mathematics education.
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