Alan H. Schoenfeld

Alan Schoenfeld is a Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He holds the Elizabeth and Edward Conner Chair in the School of Education and is an Affiliated Professor in the Mathematics Department. Schoenfeld is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and a Laureate of the education honor society Kappa Delta Pi. He is an elected memberof the International Academy of Education and the U.S. National Academy of Education, and has served as President of AERA and vice President of the National Academy. Schoenfeld holds the International Commission on Mathematics Instruction’s Klein Medal, the highest international distinction in mathematics education; AERA's Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education award, AERA’s highest honor; and the Mathematical Association of America’s Mary P. Dolciani award, given to a pure or applied mathematician for distinguished contributions to the mathematical education of K-16 students. 

Schoenfeld's research deals with thinking, learning, teaching, assessment, and the nature of powerful learning environments. He has written, edited, or co-edited twenty-four books and more than three hundred articles on these topics. His classic book Mathematical Problem Solving characterizes what it means to think mathematically and describes a research-based undergraduate course in mathematical problem solving; his book How We Think puts forth a theory of human decision making, with a focus on teaching.

Schoenfeld led the Balanced Assessment project and was one of the leaders of the NSF-sponsored Center for Diversity in Mathematics Education (DiME). He has been involved in the development of various California Mathematics Framework documents through the years, was the lead author for grades 9-12 of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, and co-authored the design specs for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s mathematics assessments. He was one of the founding editors of Research in Collegiate Mathematics Education and has served as associate editor of Cognition and Instruction. He has served as senior advisor to the Educational Human Resources Directorate of the National Science Foundation, and senior content advisor to the U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse.

Schoenfeld’s main interest, which builds on all of the work described above, is in creating and sustaining ambitious and equitable instruction. His conception of powerful learning environments, called Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU) Framework, provides a comprehensive yet accessible description of the five dimensions of learning environments from which all students emerge as knowledgeable, resourceful, and agentive thinkers and problem solvers. Schoenfeld’s work for the past decade has involved fleshing out the ideas in TRU and building tools and partnerships to help teachers, schools, and school districts implement increasingly powerful instruction.

The TRU website contains extensive descriptions of TRU, collections of tools for use in classrooms and in professional development, links to partner organizations, and an extended collection of downloadable papers. Two new books, Helping Students Become Powerful Mathematics Thinkers: Case Studies of Teaching for Robust Understanding ( and Mathematics Teaching On Target: A TRU guide for Enriching Mathematics Teaching at all Grade Levels ( have just been published.


And, the National Academy of Education/Bill and Melinda Gates Foiundation's Equity in Math Education Research Grants (EMERG) program now exists! Ten emerging scholars will be chosen to participate in redefining the field, engaging in projects that advance our theoretical and practical understandings related to equitable and ambitious mathematical experiences for all. The project web site can be found here, at


A folder containing Schoenfeld’s CV and a collection of downloadable papers is available here.

Publications related to the Teaching for Robust Understanding Framework can be downloaded from the TRU Framework web site, here.

A large number of Schoenfeld’s papers are available on ResearchGate.

A video interview titled Teaching for Mathematical Thinking can be accessed here.

Interests and Professional Affiliations

Assessment and Educational Measurement

Cognitive Development

Diversity and Educational Equity


Mathematics Education

Research Methods

Teaching for Robust Understanding (a.k.a. ambitious and equitable instruction)

Faculty Profile

Alan Schoenfeld, UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Education


PhD in Mathematics, 1973, Stanford University

MS in Mathematics, 1969, Stanford University

BA in Mathematics, 1968, Queens College, New York

* Click on the picture at the bottom of this webpage to hear Professor Schoenfeld discuss his recent work.

Contact Information

Office #4411

School of Education
Berkeley Way West Building (BWW)
UC Berkeley
2121 Berkeley Way
Berkeley, CA 94720-1670


(510) 642-0968