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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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Curriculum Research: Toward a Framework for 'Research-based Curricula'

Douglas H. Clements, University of Buffalo, State University of New York

Abstract: Government agencies have recently emphasized the importance of evidence-based instructional materials. It would be reasonable to assume such evidence is easily available, because developers and publishers frequently characterize their curricula as based on research. However, the ubiquity and multifariousness of such characterizations, in conjunction with the ambiguous nature of the phrase "research-based," discourages scientific approaches to curriculum development (and allows the continued dominance of non-scientific "market research") and undermines attempts to create a shared research foundation for the creation of, and informed choices of, classroom curricula. Describing and categorizing possible research bases for curriculum development and evaluation is a necessary first step in ameliorating these problems. The purposes of this presentation are to propose a framework for the construct of "research-based curricula" in mathematics that has been developed through an interrelated sequence of IES, IERI, and NSF-funded projects. The Curriculum Research Framework includes ten phases of the curriculum development research process that warrant claiming that a curriculum is based on research. These ten phases are classified into three categories (reflecting the three categories of knowledge required to meet a topology of research goals defined in the presentation (our two recent IERI projects fit into phases 9 and 10). One implication is that traditional strategies such as market research and research-to-practice models are insufficient; more adequate is the use of multiple phases of the proffered Curriculum Research Framework.