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The Effects of Curriculum on Achievement in Second-Year Algebra: The Example of the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project

Denise R. Thompson, Sharon L. Senk 

January 2001, Volume 32, Issue 1, Page 58

We examine the performance of 8 pairs of 2nd-year algebra classes that had been matched on pretest scores. One class in each pair used the UCSMP Advanced Algebra curriculum, and the other used the 2nd-year-algebra text in place at the school. Achievement was measured by a multiple-choice posttest and a free-response posttest. Opportunity-to-learn (OTL) measures were used to ensure that items were fair to both groups of students. UCSMP students generally outperformed comparison students on multistep problems and problems involving applications or graphical representations. Both groups performed comparably on items testing algebraic skills. Hence, concerns that students studying from a Standards-oriented curriculum will achieve less than students studying from a traditional curriculum are not substantiated in this instance.

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