WWC review of this study

An evaluation of the third edition of the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project Transition Mathematics

Thompson, D. R., Senk, S. L., & Yu, Y. (2012). The University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. http://ucsmp.uchicago.edu/resources/Transition_Mathematics_Third_Edition_Technical_Report.pdf .

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    282
     Students
    , grade
    7

Reviewed: March 2021

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Algebra outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test: Form 1 Fourth Edition

University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Transitions/Pre-transitions Math vs. Business as usual

0 Weeks

Full sample;
282 students

40.40

41.70

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test - Translating to Symbols

University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Transitions/Pre-transitions Math vs. Business as usual

0 Weeks

Full sample;
282 students

9.80

9.70

No

--

Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test - Using Symbols

University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Transitions/Pre-transitions Math vs. Business as usual

0 Weeks

Full sample;
282 students

10.20

10.20

No

--

Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test - Interpreting Mathematical Information

University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Transitions/Pre-transitions Math vs. Business as usual

0 Weeks

Full sample;
282 students

9.30

9.90

No

--

Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test - Finding Relationships

University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Transitions/Pre-transitions Math vs. Business as usual

0 Weeks

Full sample;
282 students

11.20

11.90

No

--
General Mathematics Achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

UCSMP Algebra and Geometry Readiness Test: Part One

University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Transitions/Pre-transitions Math vs. Business as usual

0 Weeks

Full sample;
282 students

24.70

23.30

No

--

UCSMP Algebra and Geometry Readiness Test: Part Two

University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Transitions/Pre-transitions Math vs. Business as usual

0 Weeks

Full sample;
282 students

11.20

11.60

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 55%
    Male: 45%

  • Rural, Suburban, Urban
  • Race
    Asian
    5%
    Black
    6%
    Other or unknown
    23%
    White
    66%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    12%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    88%

Setting

This study took place in 16 classes at four schools across multiple states. The study does not provide any information about the states in which the schools are located.

Study sample

The study included grade 7 students from eight UCSMP classes (142 students) and eight comparison classes (140 students) across four schools. Across students in the four schools, approximately 66% were White, 6% were Black, 5% were Asian, and the race of 23% of students was not specified. Twelve percent of students were Hispanic. Approximately 55% of the students were female. The study does not provide any other student background characteristics for the students in the schools or for the analytic sample.

Intervention Group

University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) is a core mathematics curriculum that includes materials and a routinized instructional approach with an option for teacher training. The curriculum uses an inquiry-based approach with a focus on active learning where students frequently engage in hands-on activities and small-group activities. The intervention group used UCSMP’s Transition Math course (third edition, field trial edition). Teachers implemented the intervention for the full school year during 50- to 55-minute daily lessons at three schools and 43-minute daily lessons in one school.

Comparison Group

The comparison group used several curricula that varied across schools, including teacher-created curriculum materials, Middle School Math Course 2 provided by Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley, and Passport to Algebra and Geometry and Mathematics: Concepts and Skills Course 2 provided by McDougal Littell. Three schools had math for 50 to 55 minutes daily and one school had math for 43 minutes daily.

Support for implementation

UCSMP teachers did not receive any formal training or professional development to implement the curriculum. Teachers met with the curriculum developers in person in Chicago twice—once in the fall and once in the spring. The focus of these meetings was to provide feedback to the developers on the curriculum materials, and teachers could raise issues and get feedback from developers or other teachers who might have helped their curriculum implementation. Instead of formal training, during the study, the University of Chicago provided teachers written guidance and sections from the second-edition textbook at three different points in time. Teachers received chapters 1–4 at the beginning of the school year, and chapters 5–12 were provided to teachers throughout the year. In addition, for the purposes of supporting implementation during the study, teachers received lesson notes and answers to frequently asked questions throughout the school year. This process of sharing written guidance and notes was done to incorporate ongoing refinements to the UCSMP curriculum over the course of the study in preparation for the release of the commercial version of UCSMP Transition Mathematics (third edition). Small modifications to the curriculum included adding Guided Examples to the lesson text and Quiz Yourself sections in each lesson, and reordering chapters on decimals, fractions, and variables. UCSMP researchers worked with Texas Instruments and Casio to obtain enough calculators—either TI-84 Plus or Casio 9750—for each student and loaned calculators to the schools to distribute for in-class use. Some schools also lent calculators to students for use at home.

 

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