Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

pp 204-207


Elkonin and Davydov Curriculum in Mathematics Education

  • Barbara DoughertyAffiliated withCollege of Education, University of Missouri Email author 
  • , Martin SimonAffiliated withSteinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University


Developmental learning Activity theory Sociocultural theory Vygotsky Curriculum Measurement


The Elkonin-Davydov mathematics curriculum was an elementary mathematics curriculum developed in Russia based on Russian activity theory. In recent years, the original Russian curriculum has been expanded to include grades K–8 and has been refined into several different curricula. In addition, research projects in other countries (e.g., USA) have investigated applications with local populations.

Characteristics and Origin

In 1959, Daniil Borissowitsch Elkonin (1904–1984) and Vasily Vasil’evich Davydov (1930–1998), Russian psychologists and students of Lev Vygotsky, developed an elementary mathematics curriculum. Their work was initially situated in experimental school #91 in Moscow where their team functioned as researchers and teachers. The project was grounded in Russian activity theory, which grew out of the cultural-historical theory of Vygotsky.

Davydov was critical of the existing schooling system and argued that traditional pedagogy fai ...

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