Contractor: Mathematica Policy Research; SRI International
The Title I, Part A program is intended to help ensure that all children have the opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach proficiency on challenging state standards and assessments. As the largest federal program supporting elementary and secondary education, these resources are targeted primarily to high-poverty districts and schools.
There has been very little reliable information available to educators and policy makers about which curricula are most likely to improve math performance. The evaluation is focused on early elementary grades since disadvantaged children are behind their more advantaged peers even before entering elementary school in basic math competencies. The study is examining:
The evaluation questions are being addressed through an experimental design in which schools were randomly assigned to selected math curricula; there is no control group. Math curricula were selected for the evaluation through a competitive process. The math curricula being evaluated are widely-used and representative of different instructional approaches, and are appropriate for funding under Title I. The curricula are Investigations in Number, Data, and Space (Pearson Scott Foresman), Math Expressions (Houghton Mifflin), Saxon Math (Harcourt Achieve), and Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Mathematics (Pearson Scott Foresman). Implementation of the math curricula and their impact on first-grade student achievement was measured in 4 districts and 39 schools during the 2006–07 school year. Programs were implemented in an additional 71 schools and also in second grade during the 2007–08 school year. The impact is the difference in math achievement between the groups using the selected math curricula.
Cost/Duration: $21,039,437 over 5 years (September 2005–September 2013
A report on first grade results during the 2006–07 school year was released in February 2009 (http://ies.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=NCEE20094052). The second report on a larger sample of first and second graders was released in October 2010 (http://ies.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=NCEE20114001). A third report is expected in 2013. Two evaluation briefs were released in September 2013.
The second report looked at the effects of the curricula on the total sample after the first year of implementation in both the first and second grades:
The evaluation brief, After Two Years, Three Elementary Math Curricula Outperform a Fourth, shows that among students who were taught using their school's assigned curriculum for two years (in the first and second grades), Math Expressions, Saxon, and SFAW/envision improved math achievement by similar amounts, and all three improved math achievement more than Investigations.
A second evaluation brief, Instructional Practices and Student Math Achievement: Correlations from a Study of Math Curricula, revealed a pattern of relationships largely consistent with earlier research, but not in every case.