Mathematics content framework in Iran’s technical and vocational education

Document Type : Original Article


PhD, mathematics education, Organization for Educational Research and Planning, Institute of Curriculum Planning and Educational Innovation, Tehran, Iran


Technical and vocational education plays an important role in supporting the social and economic development. Mathematics education is one of the complex skills in such education. However, the results of mathematics achievement tests in technical and vocational education show the shortage of mathematical abilities among its students. This research studies the mathematics content framework presented in technical and vocational education in the previous and new curriculum. To do so, several questionnaires were developed based on the Iranian mathematics curriculum standards, the research literature and the experts’ point of views through an exploratory mixed methods research. The research sample was selected through purposeful sampling method. The questionnaires were developed in Excel format so that the participants could easily choose the desired options. They were filled in by a committee in the ministry of education of Iran. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequency and mean. Additionally, content analysis of mathematics textbooks of the previous and existing curriculum was used to determine the framework for mathematics requirements in technical and vocational education in Iran. Findings showed the most important mathematical requirements in technical and vocational education. Statistical applications, geometry concepts and software packages were some shortcomings in technical and vocational education at secondary school level. Besides arithmetics, participants mentioned that vocational mathematics should involve mathematics processes including problem solving and reasoning. Findings also could be used when developing the mathematics textbooks and other mathematics contents in technical and vocational education at secondary school level and after that at both formal and informal levels.


آیین‌نامة آموزش دورة سه‌ساله متوسطه. (1379). تهران: انتشارات مدرسه‌
محتوای ریاضی مبتنی بر برنامة درسی. (1397). قابل‌دسترسی از:
تجزیه‌وتحلیل نمرات امتحانات نهایی ریاضی 3 فنی‌و حرفه‌ای. (1389). تهران: دفتر برنامه‌ریزی و آموزش‌های فنی‌وحرفه‌ای
مجموعه مصوبات شورای عالی آموزش‌وپرورش، دبیرخانه شورای عالی آموزش‌وپرورش. (1385). تهران: انتشارات مدرسه
معافی، محمود. (1392). راهنمای برنامة درسی جامع دورة متوسطه نظری همسو با برنامة درسی ملی. تهران: سازمان پژوهش و برنامه‌ریزی درسی.
Anderson, C., & Peterson, L. (1983). Linking basic skills to entry-level retail salesperson tasks. Instructional resources assessments. Salt Lake City: Utah State Office of Education. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 244049)
Baker, M. S. (1980). Mathematics course requirements and performance levels in the navy's basic electricity and electronics schools (Technical report). San Diego, CA:Navy Personnel Research and Development Center. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 209 089)
Björklund B. & Gustafsson, L. (2013). Mathematics containing activities in adults' workplace competences. In Critical Moments in Adult Mathematics–ALM 20 Annual Conference, 1-4 July 2013, Newport, UK.
Cable, J. (2015). Mathematics is always invisible, Professor Dowling. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 27(3), 359-384.
Cady, J. A., Hodges, T. E., & Collins, R. L. (2015). A Comparison of Textbooks' Presentation of Fractions. School Science and Mathematics, 115(3), 105-116.
Chambers, P., & Timlin, R. (2013). Teaching Mathematics in the Secondary School (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Chevallard, Y. (1989). Implicit mathematics: its impact on societal needs and demands. In Malone, J, Burkhardt, H., & Keitel, C. (eds) The mathematics curriculum: towards the year 2000 (pp.49-57). Perth: Science and Mathematics Education Centre, Curtin University
Clary, G. H. (2003). Congurence among mathematics skills used on the job by practical nurses vs. the prerequisite skills required for admission into the practical nursing program (Graduate Theses and Dissertations). Department of Adult, Career and Higher Education, College of Education, University of South Florida
Clements, M. A., & Ellerton, N.F. (1996). Mathematics education research: Past, present and future. Bangkok, Thailand: UNESCO.
Creswell, J. W. (2008). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications.
Fahrmeier, E. (1984). Taking inventory: Counting as problem solving. Quarterly Newsletter of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, 6(2), 6-10.
FitzSimons, G. E. (2010). Lifelong learning—Theoretical and practical perspectives on adult numeracy and vocational mathematics. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
FitzSimons, G. E. (2000). Mathematics and the vocational education and training system. In Perspectives on Adults Learning Mathematics (pp. 209-227). Springer, Dordrecht.
FitzSimons, G. E. (2002b). What Counts as Mathematics? Technologies of Power in Adult and Vocational Education. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
FitzSimons, G. E. (2014). Commentary on vocational mathematics education: where mathematics education confronts the realities of people’s work. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 86(2), 291-305.
FitzSimons, G. E., & Boistrup, L. B. (2017). In the workplace mathematics does not announce itself: towards overcoming the hiatus between mathematics education and work. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 95(3), 329-349.
Forman, L.S. & Steen, A. L. (2000). Bringing school and workplace together preface. In A. Bessot & J. Ridgway (Eds.), Education for Mathematics in the Workplace (pp. 83-86). The Netherlands, Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Foyster, J. (1990). Beyond the mathematics classroom: Numeracy on the job. In S. Willis (Ed.), being numerate: What counts? (pp. 119-137). Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research
Hancock, S. J. C. (1996). The Mathematics and Mathematical Thinking of Seamstresses. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York.
Hoogland, K. (2007). Mind and gesture: The numeracy of a vocational student. In M. Horne & B. Marr (Eds.), Connecting voices in adult mathematics and numeracy: practitioners, researchers and learners. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference of Adults Learning Mathematics (ALM) (pp. 150-158). Melbourne, Australia: ACU
Hoyles, C., Noss, R., & Pozzi, S. (2001). Proportional Reasoning in Nursing Practice. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 32(1), 4-27.
Johnson, L. A., Jones, A. P., Butler, M. C., & Main, D. (1981). Assessing Interrater Agreement In Job Analysis Ratings (No. Navhlthrschc-81-17). Naval Health Research Center San Diego Ca.
Keogh, J., Maguire, T., & O’Donoghue, J. (2013). Mathematics ‘complexified’ by the workplace: Routine mathematics constrained and mediated by workplace contexts. Paper presented at Adults learning mathematics 20 ‘Critical moments in adult mathematics’, Newport South Wales 1-4 July, 2013.
Kern, S., & Schumacker, R. E. (2006). Identification of A Mathematics Core In Vocational Programs At 2‐Year Colleges. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 19(4), 307-319.
LaCroix, L. (2014). Learning to see pipes mathematically: pre-apprentices’ mathematical activity in pipe trades training. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 86(2), 157-176.
Landis, J. R., & Koch, G. G. (1977). The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data. biometrics, 33, 159-174.
Levesque, K., Lauen, D., Teitelbaum, P., Alt, M., & Librera, S. (2000). Vocational Education in the United States: Toward the Year 2000. Statistical Analysis Report.
Lindberg, L., & Grevholm, B. (2013). Mathematics in VET programmes: The tensions associated with reforms in Sweden. International Journal of Training Research, 11(2), 150-165.
Magajna, Z., & Monaghan, J. (2003). Advanced Mathematical Thinking in a Technological Workplace. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 52(2), 101-122.
Masingila, J., Davidenko, S., & Prus-Wisniowska, E. (1996). Mathematics learning and practice in and out of school: A framework for connecting these experiences. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 31(2), 175-200.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Noss, R. (1998). New numeracies for a technological culture. For the Learning of Mathematics, 18(2), 2-12.
Nunes Carraher, T., Carraher, D. W., & Schliemann, A. D. (1985). Mathematics in the streets and in schools. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 3, 21-29.
Nunes, T., Schliemann, A. D., & Carraher, D. W. (1993). Street mathematics and school mathematics. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Patton MQ. (2002). Qualitative Evaluations and Research Methods. Sage: Newbury Park, CA.
Pucel, D. J. (1992). Performance-based occupational math requirements assessment (Report MDS-143). Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education.
Roth, W.-M., & Bowen, G. M. (2003). When are graphs worth ten thousand words? An expert–expert study. Cognition and Instruction, 21(4), 429-473.
i Nevado, L. S., & Pehkonen, L. (2018). Cabinetmakers’ Workplace Mathematics and Problem Solving. Vocations and Learning, 11(3), 475-496.
Schmidt, W. H. (2012). Measuring content through textbooks: The cumulative effect of middle-school tracking. In G. Gueudet, B. Pepin, & L. Trouche (Eds.), Mathematics curriculum material and teacher development: From text to ‘lived’ resources (pp. 143–160). Dordrecht: Springer.
Scribner, S. (1985). Knowledge at Work. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 16(3), 199-206.
Sticht, T. G., & Mikulecky, L. (1984). Job-related basic skills: Cases and conclusions. Columbus, OH: National Center for Research in Vocational Education. (ERIC Information Series No. 285) .
Sträßer, R. (2014). History of teaching vocational mathematics. In A. Karp & G. Schubring (Eds.), Handbook on the history of mathematics education (pp. 515–524). New York: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-9155-2_ 25.
Triantafillou, C., & Potari, D. (2010). Mathematical practices in a technological workplace: the role of tools. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 74(3), 275-294.
Washington, A. (2005). Basic technical mathematics with calculus (SI Version; 8th ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson/Addison Wesley.
Wedege, T. (2010). Sociomathematics: A subject field and a research field. Research paper presented at MES 6 in Berlin. Retrieved 2010 03 29 from
Wedege, T. (2013). Workers' mathematical competences as a study object: Implications of general and subjective approaches. Malmo: Malmo University. Retrieved from
Zeynivandnezhad, F., Zaleha, I., & Yudariah, Y. M. (2012). Mathematics Requirements for Vocational and Technical Education in Iran. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 56, 410-415.
Zwart D., Van Luit J.E.H., Goei S.L. (2017) Empowering Vocational Math Teachers by Using Digital Learning Material (DLM) with Workplace Assignments. In Cai Y., Goei S., Trooster W. (eds), Simulation and Serious Games for Education (pp. 81-97). Springer, Singapore