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For more information
on evaluation evidence, see the Evaluation
page and the annotated list of Research Publications.
|Q||What do evaluation studies say about the effectiveness of the Core-Plus Mathematics Project curriculum?|
There is a large and growing body of rigorous research documenting the effectiveness of the CPMP curriculum. Based on evidence from nationally standardized tests (ITED, SAT, ACT, NAEP), course-specific tests, researcher-developed tests, interviews, and surveys, the CPMP curriculum has been shown to enhance students' mathematical achievement and attitudes toward mathematics.
and Mathematical Modeling
Mathematics in Addition to Algebra and Geometry
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
Perceptions and Attitudes
on State Assessments
on College Math Placement Tests
in College Mathematics Courses
results are drawn from several sources, including two
research papers presented at the 1998 Annual Meeting of the
American Educational Research Association:
two field-test progress reports:
and a paper appearing in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, "Effects of Standards-based Mathematics Education: A Study of the Core-Plus Mathematics Project Algebra/Functions Strand," Vol. 31, No. 3 (2000).
|Q||How well do Core-Plus students perform on standardized tests like the Iowa Tests of Educational Development?|
On the quantitative section of the Iowa Tests of Educational Development (ITED-Q), Core-Plus students significantly outperformed both the nationally representative norm group and comparison students in the same school who had a traditional mathematics curriculum.
The Ability to Do Quantitative Thinking (ITED-Q or ATDQT) is the mathematical subtest of the Iowa Test of Educational Development, a nationally standardized battery of high school tests. The ITED-Q is a 40-item multiple-choice test with the primary objective of measuring students' ability to employ appropriate mathematical reasoning in situations requiring the interpretation of numerical data and charts or graphs that represent information related to business, social and political issues, medicine, and science. The ITED-Q administered in CPMP national field test schools at the beginning of Course 1 served as the pretest for all courses, so the pretest-posttest analyses for Courses 1, 2, and 3 are for one, two, and three years of mathematics instruction, respectively. For the first and second years, there was a comparison group of ninth- or tenth-grade students in traditional mathematics courses in some field-test schools with both curricula.
Results for the following three cohort groups of CPMP students were analyzed: (1) all students who completed both the Course 1 Pretest and the Course 1 Posttest, (2) all students who completed both the Course 1 Pretest and the Course 2 Posttest, and (3) all students who completed both the Course 1 Pretest and the Course 3 Posttest. Table 1 below gives median (middle) ITED-Q percentiles of the CPMP and comparison distributions.
The results given in Table 1 are illustrated in the following graph.
Pretest to posttest growth in percentiles indicates growth by CPMP students beyond that of the national norm group. Such increases appear consistently across the CPMP distribution for each year. For example, the median CPMP Course 1 student increased the equivalent of nearly two years in just one year's time. Allowing for pretest differences, CPMP posttest means in schools with comparison groups are significantly greater than those of the comparison students.
|Q||How well do Core-Plus students perform on the SAT?|
On the SAT-I Mathematics test, students completing Core-Plus mathematics field-test courses performed at least as well as students in traditional mathematics curricula.
SAT data for 1997 from 13 CPMP schools were separated into groups according to the secondary mathematics courses the students had completed. SAT Mathematics scores of students who had completed Courses 1, 2 and 3 were compared to students who completed traditional algebra, geometry and advanced algebra. In Table 1, these groups are labeled "CPMP 3" and "Advanced Algebra," respectively. The CPMP 3 average (mean) is greater than that of the Advanced Algebra students, but the difference is not significant at the 0.05 level.
In one field-test school at the beginning of the CPMP field test (Fall 1994), all ninth-grade students who qualified for pre-algebra or algebra were randomly assigned by computer to CPMP Course 1 or to a traditional course. Many of these students completed Advanced Algebra or CPMP Course 3 in their junior year and took the SAT either in spring or summer of their junior year or in fall of their senior year. As shown in Table 2, the average Grade 8 ITBS Mathematics scores are nearly identical for the CPMP students and those in the traditional curriculum. Thus, these two groups were well-matched on mathematical achievement prior to high school. They learned mathematics in the same school and sometimes from some of the same teachers. The only apparent systematic difference between the groups is the curriculum. The average SAT Math score for the CPMP group is greater than that of the traditional group, but the difference is not statistically significant at the 0.05 level.
The results in Tables 1 and 2 are illustrated in the following graph.
|Q||How well do Core-Plus students perform on the ACT?|
On the ACT Mathematics test, students completing Core-Plus mathematics field-test courses performed as well as students in traditional mathematics curricula.
The 2,944 CPMP and 527 traditional students in the original CPMP field-test sample had nearly identical average scores on the ITED-Q pretest administered at the beginning of Grade 9. ACT scores were available from a reasonably large subset of these students, and their average ACT Mathematics and ACT Composite scores are given in Table 1. There is no significant difference (0.05 level) between the CPMP and traditional averages (means) for either the Mathematics or Composite score.
In one school district at the beginning of the CPMP field test (Fall 1994), all ninth-grade students in the two CPMP field-test schools who qualified for remedial mathematics through algebra were randomly assigned by computer to CPMP Course 1 or to the appropriate traditional course. Many of these students completed Advanced Algebra or CPMP Course 3 in their junior year and took the ACT either in spring or summer of their junior year or in fall of their senior year. The average sixth-grade CAT Mathematics percentiles for the CPMP students and those in the traditional curriculum are similar as shown in Table 2, so these two groups were well-matched on mathematical achievement prior to high school. They learned mathematics in the same schools and sometimes from some of the same teachers. The only apparent systematic difference was the curriculum. For this set of students, the average ACT Math scores for the CPMP group is almost identical to that of the traditional group. The average ACT Composite score for the CPMP group is greater than that of the traditional group, but the difference is not statistically significant at the 0.05 level.
The results in Tables 1 and 2 are illustrated in the following graph.
|Q||How well do Core-Plus students perform on mathematics placement tests at the college level?|
On a Mathematics Department Placement Test from a large Midwestern university, students completing field-test versions of Core-Plus Mathematics Courses 1-3 plus the precalculus path of Course 4 performed as well as students in traditional precalculus on basic algebra and advanced algebra subtests and better on the calculus readiness subtest.
The Mathematics Placement Test, compiled from a bank of items developed by the Mathematical Association of America, that is presently used at a major university was administered in several field-test schools in May 1999 at the end of CPMP Course 4 and traditional Precalculus courses. This test contains three subtests - Basic Algebra (15 items), Advanced Algebra (15 items) and Calculus Readiness (20 items). The first two subtests consist almost entirely of algebraic symbol manipulation, and the third subtest measures some of the important concepts that underlie calculus. A graphing calculator (with no symbol manipulation capability) is allowed on this test.
The CPMP Course 4 students included in the comparison below are all those in the 1998-99 Course 4 field test who completed the 6-unit "preparation for calculus" path as the last course in their sequence of CPMP Courses 1-4 (N = 164). The Precalculus students, also from field-test schools, completed a traditional precalculus course following a sequence of Algebra, Geometry and Advanced Algebra (N = 177). The two groups were further restricted to those students who indicated on a written survey their intention to attend a four-year college or university in the next school year. Eighth-grade mathematics standardized test scores for both groups were, on average, at about the 85th national percentile. Means by group and subtest are plotted in Figure 1. The CPMP Course 4 mean was significantly (p < 0.05) greater than the Precalculus mean on the Calculus Readiness subtest, while the group means did not differ significantly on the Basic Algebra or Advanced Algebra subtests.
The Mathematics Department at the university that provided this placement test combines the subtest scores by a formula to recommend enrollment for each student in one of four college mathematics courses - Calculus I, Precalculus, Intermediate Algebra, and Beginning Algebra. Using that formula, the percent of CPMP Course 4 and Precalculus students who would be recommended for each course is illustrated in Figure 2. A much higher percentage of CPMP Course 4 students (50.6%) than traditional Precalculus students (39.0%) would be recommended for Calculus I suggesting that the CPMP curriculum with this sequence of Course 4 units better prepares students for this examination and presumably for college calculus.
|Q||How well do Core-Plus students perform in college mathematics courses?|
CPMP Course 4 was field tested nationally during the 1998-99 school year and some preliminary evidence on how CPMP graduates perform in collegiate mathematics courses is beginning to appear. A study completed at the University of Michigan examined the performance of students from two Michigan high schools in the same district, Andover High School and Lahser High School. In 1995 and 1996, a traditional mathematics curriculum was in place at both schools, and Lahser continued to use their traditional curriculum through 1998-99. In 1997, all Andover students who had not previously been accelerated had studied the CPMP curriculum, and by 1998 all Andover students were in the CPMP program.
Computer files provided by the University of Michigan registrar were used to generate the achievement data summarized in the following table. The table includes the number of matriculants from the school under the year, the mathematics courses taken in the first year of study at the University of Michigan together with the grade point averages, and numbers of elections and the course averages in each year. The mathematics courses are 105/110 (precalculus), 115 (calculus I), 116 (calculus II), 215 (calculus III), 216 (introduction to differential equations), and honors (all honors math courses open to freshmen). The grade point averages were calculated using the University of Michigan system as follows: A+ (4.3), A (4), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3), ..., D (1), D- (0.7), E+ 0.3), and E (0).
The Andover achievement for the years 1997 and 1998 when CPMP was in place is stronger than both pre-CPMP Andover (i.e., 1995 and 1996) and 1997 and 1998 Lahser achievement. Similarly, the number of Andover matriculants at the University of Michigan for the last two years is greater than that for the previous two years. These achievement and admissions data clearly support the view that in collegiate mathematics courses at the University of Michigan, graduates of the CPMP program perform as well as, or better than, graduates of a traditional mathematics curriculum.
Graduates of the CPMP program at Andover have, themselves, commented on their preparedness for collegiate mathematics and mathematics-related fields. The following comments are from three students who studied the pilot version of CPMP Course 4. The first two students enrolled at the University of Michigan.
Comments such as the above are not unique to students at the University of Michigan. The following is a quote from an Andover graduate from the same class who enrolled at Stanford University.
|Q||What are students' perceptions and attitudes about the Core-Plus Mathematics Project curriculum?|
A written, Likert-type survey of students' perceptions and attitudes about various aspects of their mathematics course experience was administered at the end of each school year during the field test. In four field-test schools, both CPMP Course 2 students (n = 221) and traditional geometry students (n = 134) completed this survey at the end of their respective courses. (Course 2 results are presented since the newness effect of the CPMP approach is likely to have disappeared by then). Each of the following findings was consistent across levels of pretest student achievement.