CPMP Longitudinal Study

Key Findings

With the publication of the 1st edition of the Core-Plus Mathematics program (1997-2000), CPMP evaluators began a five-year longitudinal study to monitor students and teachers in three high schools that were using the published curriculum with all students. The students in these high schools had also completed a NSF-funded Standards-based mathematics program in middle school. Most of the teachers had prior experience teaching Core-Plus Mathematics. Some, but not all, had participated in CPMP professional development programs.

Student performance on a variety of measures was tracked from grade 9 through their first year of postsecondary study or work. This report highlights the main findings. Students who studied from the published Core-Plus Mathematics materials demonstrated levels of conceptual understanding and problem-solving competence at or above those of students who had used the field-test materials. Students using the published program also consistently scored as well or better on several measures of algebraic symbol manipulation as students at comparable stages in more conventional curricula. For example, on the Educational Testing Service's Algebra End-of-Course Examination, students at the end of Course 2 scored especially well on subtests of Concepts and Processes and about the same on Skills as a national sample of students who were completing a first-year algebra course. For further discussion of the Algebra End-of-Course Examination findings, see Schoen & Hirsch in the MAA Monthly, 2003. This general finding of relative algebraic competence, both compared to that of Core-Plus Mathematics field-test students and to comparable students in more conventional curricula, is supported by ACT Mathematics Test results and by results from a TIMSS-Based Advanced Mathematics test administered at the end of Course 4.

At the end of Course 3, Core-Plus Mathematics students completed a TIMSS-based test of mathematical literacy and scored near the level of the highest scoring country internationally (the Netherlands). For more details, see Developing Mathematical Literacy.

With respect to preparation for college mathematics courses, the CPMP evaluation data suggests that the field-test materials prepared students especially well for progressive college calculus programs, for example, those using the Harvard Consortium Calculus texts. As for more traditional college mathematics programs, the 1st edition longitudinal study data from high school graduates who entered a variety of colleges after completing three or four Core-Plus Mathematics courses showed no patterns of deficiency overall when high school mathematics background was kept constant. In their first college semester, when compared with students from more conventional high school mathematics programs, Core-Plus Mathematics graduates with similar high school mathematics backgrounds completed university mathematics courses through Calculus II at similar frequencies and with similar success rates. For more details, see College Mathematics Course-Taking and Performance Patterns.

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