PROJECT OVERVIEW: Background: Student achievement in secondary school mathematics is influenced in major ways by curriculum. Our knowledge of the effects of different approaches to mathematical content in textbooks is limited. Studying what students learn from different organizational patterns of mathematics is important.
Purpose: The project evaluates high school students' mathematics learning from textbooks embodying two distinct approaches to content organization: an integrated approach (Core Plus) and a subject-specific approach (students follow an Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II sequence). The study will be conducted in schools using both approaches but with different groups of students. Student learning over a two-year period will be tracked using standardized measures of achievement along with specially designed measures to assess depth of knowledge, skills acquisition, conceptual development, and disposition toward mathematics. The study involves over 3000 students with project classes randomly chosen from a large pool. The extent to which curricula are implemented in each classroom will be carefully assessed and subsequently used in data analyses that examine student learning under each approach to content.
Research Design: This project is using a longitudinal quasi-experimental design. The study sample includes 30 classes of students in an integrated course sequence and 30 classes of students in a single-subject sequence. Year-end achievement measures (standardized achievement tests and project-developed learning measures) and fidelity of implementation measures (classroom observations, teacher logs, interviews, questionnaires). Data analysis employs hierarchical linear modeling.