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The Impact of Two Standards-Based Mathematics Curricula on Student Achievement in Massachusetts

Julie E. Riordan, Pendred E. Noyce 

July 2001, Volume 32, Issue 4, Page 368

Since the passage of the Education Reform Act in 1993, Massachusetts has developed curriculum frameworks and a new statewide testing system. As school districts align curriculum and teaching practices with the frameworks, standards-based mathematics programs are beginning to replace more traditional curricula. This paper presents a quasi-experimental study using matched comparison groups to investigate the impact of one elementary and one middle school standards-based mathematics program in Massachusetts on student achievement. The study compares statewide standardized test scores of fourth-grade students using Everyday Mathematics and eighth-grade students using Connected Mathematics to test scores of demographically similar students using a mix of traditional curricula. Results indicate that students in schools using either of these standards-based programs as their primary mathematics curriculum performed significantly better on the 1999 statewide mathematics test than did students in traditional programs attending matched comparison schools. With minor exceptions, differences in favor of the standards-based programs remained consistent across mathematical strands, question types, and student sub-populations.

Grade 5
Research Studies
Calculus and Higher Level Mathematics
Assessment / Testing
Curriculum Developer
Conceptual Development
Grades 6-8
Problem Solving / Problem Posing