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Standards-based Mathematics Curricula and Middle Grade Students' Performance on Standardized Achievement Tests

Abstract

In an effort to bring to your attention resources that relate to the five key features of the MSPs, we post the following report pertaining to the third key feature, Creating Challenging Curricula. This study researches two standards-based curricula (Math Thematics and Connected Math), and studies how these curricula effect student performance on achievement tests.

"This study extends our understanding of the relationship between the use of Standards based middle grades curricula and the learning of traditional mathematics topics as measured by two widely used standardized tests, the SAT-9 and the New Standards Mathematics Reference Exam. Sixteen hundred middle grades students in 43 classrooms from five districts with varying demographic profiles participated. These districts had participated in a Local Systemic Change (LSC) project supported by NSF. Students had used either the Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) or the MATH Thematics (STEM) program for three years. ... A group of "value added" students were tested on three separate occasions over a two-year period of time to permit examination of achievement trends and achievement gaps among the various subpopulations. ... Results suggest that Standards based students do learn traditional mathematics topics, at least those topics assessed by the two tests used. This study continues to raise the question "What mathematics is most valued and what type of a curriculum is most likely to provide it?"

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