WWC review of this study

An evaluation of the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project: Pre-Transition Mathematics

Thompson, D.R., and Senk, S.L. (2016). University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. https://s3.amazonaws.com/ucsmp/research_reports/ptm_evaluation_report.pdf .

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    264
     Students
    , grades
    6-8

Reviewed: March 2021

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards with reservations
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 Problem-solving and Understanding Test

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

0 Days

Full sample;
264 students

15.79

12.27

No

--

UCSMP Mathematics Test One

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

0 Days

Full sample;
264 students

20.88

20.49

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

TerraNova CAT Survey 17

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

0 Days

Grade 6;
64 students

23.65

21.16

No

--

TerraNova CAT Survey 17

University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Transitions/Pre-transitions Math vs. Everyday Mathematics®

0 Days

Grade 6;
131 students

23.40

22.62

No

--

Items Common to the UCSMP Entering Mathematics Test and the UCSMP Mathematics Test One

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

0 Days

Full sample;
264 students

57.06

56.33

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: 49%
    Male: 51%

  • Rural, Suburban, Urban
    • B
    • A
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    • b
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    • y

    Midwest, Northeast
  • Race
    Asian
    2%
    Black
    4%
    Other or unknown
    21%
    White
    73%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    30%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    70%

Setting

The study took place in seven schools within four districts in rural, suburban, and urban areas in the northeastern and midwestern United States. The districts and states were not named.

Study sample

The study sample included 264 students in grades 6 to 8. Across the study sample, 51% of the students were male, 73% were White, 4% were Black, 2% were Asian, and the race of 21% of students was not specified. Thirty percent of students were Hispanic. The study does not provide information on student race for the analytic samples included in this review nor any other background characteristics for the students in the schools.

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 Pre-Transition Mathematics course (field trial edition). The intervention was implemented during students’ regular math classes. The majority of UCSMP classes used the curriculum daily; some classes used it four times per week. Math instructional time in the intervention classes ranged from 225 to 400 minutes per week. Students were loaned graphing calculators that they used two to three times per week, on average.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison classes used Everyday Mathematics provided by McGraw-Hill Education, Basic Mathematics provided by Globe Fearon, Prentice Hall Mathematics: Course 1 provided by Prentice Hall, Mathematics: Applications and Concepts Course 2 provided by Glencoe, and Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Math provided by Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley. Most comparison classes had math instruction five times per week; some classes offered math four times per week. Comparison classes spent 225 to 400 minutes per week on math instruction. Students were loaned graphing calculators that they used two to three times per week, on average.

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 this study, the University of Chicago provided teachers written guidance and sections from the second-edition textbook at three different points in time. UCSMP provided teachers chapters 1–4 at the beginning of the school year, and chapters 5–12 throughout the year, based on teachers’ progress through the curriculum. 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. UCSMP worked with Texas Instruments and Casio to obtain enough calculators—either TI-84 Plus or Casio 9750—for each student and loaned the calculators to study schools for in-class use. Two of the five schools also lent calculators to students for use at home.

 

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