, Volume 39, Issue 5–6, pp 443–458 | Cite as

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going problem solving in Hungary, 1970–2007: research and theory, practice and politics

  • Julianna SzendreiEmail author
Original article


In the 1970s significant research was conducted concerning the development of methods for teaching mathematics. The most outstanding of these projects, led by the late Tamás Varga, and which had a major influence on teaching mathematics in Hungary, was called OPI. This project comprised research based on experiments aiming at the complete renewal of methods and content in mathematics teaching. In 1978 a centralized and compulsory new curriculum was introduced that was based on the results of the Varga’s research. In the following decade development aimed at adopting and realizing the research results within practice. Research mainly aimed at examining the effects of the newly introduced curriculum by looking into the development of children’s problem-solving skills. Other research was associated with international studies such as SIMS, TIMMS, and PISA. Additional research and development into different aspects of problem solving, summarized here, was conducted by various research groups around the country.


OPI project Tamás Varga Mathematics Journal Olympiads 



The author is grateful to Jane Schoenfeld for her proofreading and editing the article. I had the great opportunity to show my previous version to Alan Schoenfeld and benefit from his observations and suggestions. Furthermore I thank the help of Katalin Fried, Miklós Somogyi and Rozy Brar in English translation and bibliographic help.


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Copyright information

© FIZ Karlsruhe 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity Eötvös Loránd, TÓFKBudapestHungary

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