In October of 2010, Angel Ruiz was appointed by the Minister of Education of Costa Rica (MEP) to design a new Mathematics curriculum for all years of Primary and Secondary School (Grades 1-12). A team of six Mathematics Education researchers (from public universities) and four in-service teachers, led by Ruiz, wrote this curriculum.
In May 2012, the new curriculum was approved by the Highest Council of Education (the most important body for education in Costa Rica).
Since 2012, the country has been implementing the new curriculum. This has included diverse teacher preparation courses: face-to-face, hybrid-bimodal, and virtual.
It is relevant to mention that all virtual courses were MOOCs and Mini-MOOCs (the later, focused and short) that were developed since 2014 (among the first ones within Latin America). During 2016-2019 these types of courses were also offered to high school students to support in their preparation for mandatory national examinations.
Costa Rica has created multiple online documents and resources to support the diverse education agents to implement the curriculum. Since 2019, a very innovative and dynamic platform named Recursos libres de Matemáticas [Mathematics Free Resources] is offered to grades 6-12 students and teachers. These high-quality virtual resources have resulted very useful for Costa Rica during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This process has been nurtured and geared by the Proyecto Reforma de la Educación Matemática en Costa Rica [Mathematics Education Reform in Costa Rica Project], which formally belongs to the MEP though has a lot of autonomy. It has included most of the team that wrote the curriculum in 2010-2012. The Project received the financial support from NGOs during 2012-2016 and -since 2017- besides non-paid work some funding from the same university researchers that have participated since the beginning of this reform. MEP has always allocated 3-5 High School teachers to work full-time with this Project.
The materials, courses and pedagogical advice were offered to almost all teachers of this country through the institutional means and officers of MEP. However, the curriculum implementation process has been not the same in all the country regions.
One interesting detail: The curriculum and this Project have had the political support of three different national governments and four Ministers of Education (2012-2021).
Angel Ruiz has been the leader of this Project since its inception.
The curriculum: Costa Rica School Mathematics Curriculum (Grades 1-12). 2012
Curriculum Foundations (English): This document is a translation into English of the sections on theoretical and pedagogical foundations that are included in the official school mathematics curriculum for grades 1 to 12 of Costa Rica. https://www.reformamatematica.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Costa-Rica-School-Mathematics-Curriculum-2012-Foundations.pdf
Curriculum Support Documents: https://www.reformamatematica.net/documentos/
About assessment and national examinations: https://www.angelruizz.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Angel-Ruiz-Evaluacion-y-pruebas-2018.pdf
About the history of the Project:
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic