Student Perceptions and Attitudes

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.

  • Students perceive the CPMP curriculum to be quite difficult, at least as challenging as traditional college-prep mathematics courses. A common perception of students is that CPMP is challenging and makes them think, but they say that with effort they are able to understand the mathematical ideas and their applications.

  • Over three-fourths of CPMP and geometry students agreed that cooperative-group work was enjoyable and helped them learn mathematics. The advantages of learning in groups most often cited by students were seeing how other people attack problems and the support of group members during problem-solving efforts.

  • A significantly higher percent of CPMP students than of geometry students agreed that their mathematics course made them feel more confident that they could solve mathematical problems (71.1% compared to 55.6%), that they learned to reason mathematically (68.8% to 53.0%), and that the course helped them see that mathematical ideas make sense (64.7% to 51.1%).

  • A significantly higher percent of CPMP students than of geometry students agreed that their mathematics course contained realistic problems (76.5% to 47.8%), made the mathematical ideas interesting (70.1% to 41.4%), and increased their ability to talk about (68.2% to 42.9%) and to write about mathematics (66.5% to 40.6%).

  • CPMP and geometry students (over 85% of each) agreed that they enjoyed using the calculator in mathematics class. About 70% of both groups also agreed that they learned more mathematics by using the calculator.

  • CPMP students were much more likely than geometry students to want to take a mathematics course taught in the same way the next year (75.0% compared to 43.0% agreement), and 27% of CPMP students at the end of Course 3 agreed that it was mainly because of CPMP that they took a third year of mathematics. These findings coupled with substantial increases in enrollments in junior and senior mathematics courses in many field-test schools provide strong evidence that the CPMP curriculum is a factor in keeping more students in mathematics courses longer.
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