1.
What Do We Know?
SEEKING EFFECTIVE MATH AND SCIENCE INSTRUCTION
THE URBAN INSTITUTE
February 2005 As requested by the GE Foundation, the with relatively credible evaluations to pro-
main goal of this review was to identify vide some choice to districts and schools
mathematics and science curricula as well that wanted guidance in selecting a cur-
as professional development models at riculum and that wished to use effective-
the middle and high school levels that ness as a selection criterion.
had been deemed effective based on their
success in increasing student achievement.
Because of its emphasis on student achieve- Evaluation Study Selection
ment, this approach differs from that Criteria Used
typically used at the local level and that
adopted by other recent studies conducted To be included, studies had to have
to ﬁnd “effective” curricula and profes- 1. Rigorous methodological design
sional development models. including comparison groups;
Historically, curriculum choice at the 2. Measures of impact on student
local level has often been made by a com- outcomes that included, but were
mittee that decides which curriculum to not limited to, test scores; and
adopt based on considerations only periph- 3. Comparative data with experi-
erally related to student achievement—such mental or quasi-experimental
as state-imposed standards, recommenda- design preferred.
tions of others, cost, and presentations by
publishers’ representatives. Choice of pro-
fessional development models follows a As can be seen from the criteria above,
similar pattern. Indeed, there has been very we chose increases in student achievement
little else available to guide school districts as the measure of effectiveness.2 We limited
in their curriculum selection process, since our review to evaluations that compared
for most curricula and textbooks the only student achievement outcomes elicited by
data at hand are publishers’ ﬁgures on the curriculum being studied with student
the number of adoptions. That has been achievement outcomes of another curricu-
changing. There is a growing movement lum. Where data were available, we also
to assess the effectiveness of math and took into account the content validity of the
science curricula through various meth- assessments used as well as the statistical
The Urban Institute
odologies, including content analyses, signiﬁcance and the effect size of the differ-
Beatriz Chu Clewell
comparative studies, case studies, and syn- ences reported. Our review made a special
Clemencia Cosentino de
thesis studies.1 And while there have been effort to identify eligible studies that dis-
Cohen
several studies of the effectiveness of pro- aggregated results by performance of stu-
Nicole Deterding
Sarah Manes fessional development practices, very few dent subgroups. Our review of evaluation
Lisa Tsui have measured the effects of these practices studies of professional development was
on student achievement. similarly limited to studies that used
Campbell-Kibler The focus of this review, reﬂecting the student achievement as the measure of
Associates, Inc. GE Foundation’s interests, was to identify effectiveness.
Patricia B. Campbell current math and science curricula and
Lesley Perlman professional development at the middle
Professional Development:
Shay N.S. Rao and high school levels that showed evi-
Becky Branting dence of positive impact on student
What We Found
Lesli Hoey achievement. Our goal was to come up We identiﬁed 18 evaluation studies of pro-
Rosa Carson with enough math and science curricula fessional development models that used
1
2.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
student achievement outcomes as both change in the teaching mathematics curricula that were
measures of effectiveness. Features of behavior of teachers and change developed as part of whole school
these studies can be found in a full in the classroom environment. reform efforts. A total of 156 studies
report of this review.3 We found that One study found that behavioral of student mathematics achievement
change was only evident after with comparison group data were
Providing professional develop- teachers had received a minimum found for 18 of the curricula (20 per-
ment for teachers of standards- of 80 hours of intensive profes- cent of the total number of curricula
based science curricula is sional development; change in originally identiﬁed). A list of the
effective in increasing student the classroom environment was 18 mathematics curricula, together
achievement. There is evidence achieved after 160 hours.4 It is with overviews of the curricula and
from the research that standards- important to note that at the indi- their impact studies, appears in
based science programs that pro- vidual level, teacher preparation in Appendix A.
vide professional development to the content area was an important The following ﬁndings relate to
teachers produce higher student factor in inﬂuencing effectiveness. methodology:
achievement outcomes than those Some widely held beliefs about
that do not. what constitutes effective profes- Most middle and high school
Professional development that is sional development are not sup- mathematics curricula do not
tied to curriculum, to knowledge ported by research linked to have studies of student achieve-
of subject matter, and/or to how student achievement. ment with comparison groups
students learn the subject is more that can be found through litera-
● Myth: Professional development
effective in terms of improving ture or web searches. Only three
should be distributed over the
student achievement than is of the studies found speciﬁed the
school year. While professional
professional development that curriculum to which the target cur-
development in science seems
focuses only on teaching behav- riculum was being compared. The
to beneﬁt from distributed time,
iors. A number of studies have rest compared their curriculum to
the same effect has not been
concluded that the content of pro- some unnamed curriculum, mak-
found for math.
fessional development—what is
● Myth: More is better. There is no ing comparisons across curricula
taught—is more important than its impossible.
evidence to support the belief
format—how it is taught—and that
that more contact time over and If students are going to be judged
content should be linked to subject
above 80 hours and 160 hours on the results of an external test,
matter knowledge, a speciﬁc cur-
results in changes in teaching the mathematics curriculum
riculum, or the process of student
behavior or classroom environ- selected should cover the areas
learning. For example, some pro-
ment, respectively. and skills that are included on
fessional development focuses on
● Myth: Classroom visits are neces- that test (i.e., the test and curricu-
training teachers to model speciﬁc
sary. Visits to classrooms for lum should be aligned). As would
pedagogical approaches and skills
consultation or coaching as part be expected, students tend to score
using generic lesson formats. The
of professional development do higher on tests focusing on the
goal of these efforts is to get teach-
not necessarily result in greater content and skills covered in their
ers to change the way they teach,
student achievement. curriculum. The content and skills
expecting that this will increase
● Myth: Schoolwide programs are covered in traditional math cur-
student achievement. More effec-
more effective. Providing services ricula tend to reﬂect the content
tive professional development
to whole schools rather than and skills covered in most stan-
focuses on increasing teacher
individuals may not be the most dardized and statewide tests.
knowledge of the subject matter,
important element of profes- Alternatively, the content and
on a speciﬁc curriculum, or on
sional development that leads to skills covered in standards-based
the student learning process. The
increased student achievement. curricula tend to better reﬂect that
goal of these types of efforts is to
change teacher knowledge, ex- which is covered in standards-
pecting that this will, in turn, Mathematics and Science based tests. (For more on this
both change teacher behavior and Curricula: What We Found issue, see the text box, “Inter-
increase student achievement. preting the Results.”)
The amount of professional Mathematics Curricula
development provided is an Our review netted 89 middle and The following ﬁndings relate to
important factor in inﬂuencing high school curricula, including eight outcomes and impacts:
2
3.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Studies of six of the curricula ricula and the results of impact stud- more effective than traditional
found that students who use the ies, is provided in Appendix B. science curricula as measured by
curriculum being tested scored The following ﬁndings relate to student achievement. The prepon-
higher than comparison students methodology: derance of evidence provided by
on both a majority of standard- meta-analyses and evaluations of
ized and/or state tests used and As with mathematics curricula, individual curricula seems to con-
on a majority of the curriculum- most middle and high school cur- ﬁrm that inquiry-based science
based tests used. These curricula ricula do not have evaluation curricula produce larger effects
were Cognitive Tutor, Connected studies of student achievement on student achievement than do
Mathematics (CMP), Interactive with comparison groups that can the more “traditional” science
Mathematics Program (IMP), be found through published liter- curricula.6
Prentice Hall: Tools for Success, ature or web searches. However, It is difﬁcult to determine the
Saxon Math: An Incremental in contrast to the mathematics cur- effect of these science curricula
Development, and University of ricula in Table 1 in Appendix A on different subgroups of stu-
Chicago School Mathematics (many of which had been the sub- dents—such as girls, minority
Project. Because students using jects of multiple studies), most of group members, and urban stu-
these curricula scored higher on the science curricula in Table 2 in dents. Very few of the curricula
both types of tests, it is reasonable Appendix B had only one eval- had studies that met our criteria
to assume that the effectiveness of uation or study, usually unpub- and disaggregated their ﬁndings
each curriculum is not an effect of lished works available through the by sex, language minority status,
developer. or urban location. Surprisingly,
the type of test used.
none of the studies reported data
It is difﬁcult to determine any
The following ﬁndings relate to disaggregated by race/ethnicity.
differential effect of these math
outcomes and impacts: Most science curricula include a
curricula on girls and boys. Very
professional development compo-
few of the curricula had studies
Science curricula based on the nent. Inclusion of a professional
that met our criteria and disaggre-
inquiry approach are consistently development component as a part
gated their ﬁndings by sex. Among
those that did, the results were
inconsistent.
With the exception of Connected
Mathematics, too few results per Interpreting the Results: Validity of Tests Used
curriculum were broken out by To Measure Student Achievement
race/ethnicity to allow us to draw The evaluation studies for mathematics and science curricula on our lists
general conclusions regarding used a variety of assessments—some standardized, some state-mandated,
racial/ethnic effects. Connected some self-developed, and some developed by others speciﬁcally for stan-
Mathematics, however, appeared dards-based curricula. In the case of mathematics curriculum studies, the
to reduce racial/ethnic gaps. content and skills covered by most standardized achievement tests tend to
reﬂect more closely the content and skills covered by traditional mathe-
Science Curricula matics curriculum than those covered by standards-based curriculum,
causing them to have better “content validity” for traditional curriculum.
We identiﬁed 80 science curricula at Many researchers of standards-based curriculum are aware of this and
the middle and high school levels.5 develop their own student achievement tests that more accurately test the
Similar to the mathematics cur- skills and content of standards-based curriculum.
riculum, we found seven science If students taking one curriculum score higher than others on both
curricula that had been developed types of test, there is no question of interpretation. Beyond that, however,
speciﬁcally as a part of whole school judgments of efﬁcacy must take into account the content validity of the
reform. A total of 45 studies of stu- tests in order to determine which type of curriculum is more effective.
dent achievement in science were Although science curriculum studies face a similar dilemma, several stud-
found that met our criteria, covering ies comparing the results of standardized tests with those of other forms of
21 (or 26 percent) of the total science assessment have found very small differences. The issue of content valid-
curricula identiﬁed. The 21 curricula ity, therefore, seems to be less of a concern in judging the effectiveness of
are listed in Table 2, which together science curricula.
with brief descriptions of these cur-
3
4.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
of the curriculum is far more com- mines what students will learn. Once an enormous task and an enormous
mon in science than in mathemat- a decision is made, selection should responsibility. We hope that our
ics because science curricula tend be guided by how effective a par- review can provide some guidance
to be more discretionary and vari- ticular curriculum is for the student and assistance in the process.
able than mathematics curricula. population to be taught. The National
Science curriculum developers, Research Council report, On Eval-
therefore, may feel the need to pro-
Endnotes
uating Curricular Effectiveness: Judging
vide more guidance to teachers the Quality of K–12 Mathematics 1. The majority of these efforts have been
undertaken by AAAS, the National Research
about the appropriate instructional Evaluations (2004) describes the value Council (NRC), and the U.S. Department of
approaches to be used for speciﬁc of this knowledge to the decision- Education. The AAAS study used content
curricula. making process: analysis, the NRC study did not rate speciﬁc
curricular math programs, and the U.S.
Department of Education study reviewed
Clearly, knowing how effective a middle school math programs only.
What Can We Conclude particular curriculum is, and for
2. As determined by quantiﬁably measurable
whom and under what conditions it
from Our Review? outcomes, such as test scores.
is effective, represents a valuable
The major conclusions of our review and irreplaceable source of informa- 3. The full report, on which this summary
tion to decisionmakers, whether report is based and which contains refer-
that should be most useful to those
they are classroom teachers, par- ences and a bibliography of all studies
wishing to invest in sustainable described in this report, can be found on
ents, district curriculum specialists,
school reform in science and mathe- school boards, state adoption the Urban Institute web site, http://www.
matics can be summarized as follows: boards, curriculum writers and urban.org.
evaluators, or national policymak- 4. “Teacher behavior” in this context refers
Effective mathematics curricula in ers. Evaluation studies can provide to teachers’ use of speciﬁc pedagogical
middle and high school may be that information but only if those approaches in instruction, such as inquiry-
either traditional or integrative evaluations meet standards of qual- based teaching practices. “Change in the
ity (p.1).7 classroom environment” refers to teacher
(standards-based). facilitation of an investigative classroom cul-
Effective science curricula in ture through seating arrangements to stimu-
middle and high school should This review of math and science late discussion, use of cooperative learning
be inquiry-based rather than curricula has tried to simplify for groups, encouraging students to explain
schools and districts the complex, concepts to one another, and other such
traditional.
practices.
Effective professional develop- time-consuming process of determin-
ment programs are those that ing curriculum effectiveness by iden- 5. Of the 80 science curricula identiﬁed, 59 had
tifying programs that have what we no evaluations or had evaluations that did
focus on content rather than for- not meet our criteria, or evaluations were
mat and that have the following consider to be credible evaluations.
out of print, or we did not receive a re-
features: We have also distilled the ﬁndings of sponse from the developers.
achievement-based research on pro-
6. As measured by both standardized tests and
● Content tied to curriculum, fessional development to a handful of tests developed for standards-based curric-
knowledge of subject matter, principles that reﬂect effective prac- ula in both meta-analyses and evaluations of
and/or how students learn a tice. Once schools and districts have individual curricula.
subject; decided on a curriculum and an 7. Jere Confrey and Vicki Stohl, eds. 2004. On
● A minimum of 80 contact hours appropriate assessment tool, they Evaluating Curricular Effectiveness: Judging the
to effect changes in teachers’ might wish to collect their own Quality of K–12 Mathematics Evaluations.
impact data to evaluate how well the Committee for a Review of the Evaluation
instructional behaviors; and
Data on the Effectiveness of NSF-Supported
● A minimum of 160 contact curriculum they choose is working
and Commercially Generated Mathematics
hours to effect changes in the with their own students.8 It is the Curriculum Materials. National Research
classroom environment. responsibility of the school and dis- Council. Washington, DC: National Acad-
trict community to ensure that the emy Press.
content that they want students to 8. For those schools and districts that already
How to Use This Review
learn is embodied in the curriculum, have programs that they feel are effective
Choice of a curriculum in mathe- that the curriculum is effective for but are not included in Tables 1 and 2, we
matics and science involves deciding suggest that they collect their own effective-
this purpose, and that appropriate
ness data via evaluation studies that adhere
what aspects of these subjects are measures are used to assess whether to the criteria established in this review.
important to address and emphasize students are indeed learning what the They may wish to contract with an evalua-
in schools—this choice thus deter- community wants them to learn. It is tor for this purpose.
4
5.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Appendix A
DETAILED FINDINGS OF THE REVIEW OF MATH CURRICULA
This appendix provides a list of the mathematics curricula included in our review, together with a descrip-
tion of each curriculum and its related evaluation studies. Table 1 lists the mathematics curricula identiﬁed
as having evaluation studies that met our criteria.
TABLE 1. Math Curricula with Studies
Grades Covered Curriculum Name Subject Matter
K 12
Edison Schools Mathematics
K 8
Direct Instruction Mathematics
middle school
Cognitive Tutor *[sex, race/ethnicity] Mathematics
middle school
Connected Mathematics (CMP) *[sex, race/ethnicity] Mathematics
middle school
Integrated Mathematics, Science, and Technology (IMaST) Mathematics
middle school
Mathematics in Context (MiC) *[race/ethnicity] Mathematics
6 8
MATHThematics Mathematics
middle school
Prentice Hall: Tools for Success Mathematics
middle school
Saxon Math: An Incremental Development Mathematics
7 12
Mathematics with Meaning *[sex, race/ethnicity] Mathematics
7 12
University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) Mathematics
9 12
College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) Mathematics
9 12 Contemporary Mathematics in Context: A Uniﬁed Approach
(Core-Plus Mathematics Project CPMP) Mathematics
9 12
Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP) *[sex] Mathematics
9 12
Math Connections *[sex, race/ethnicity] Mathematics
9 12
Mathematics: Modeling Our World (MMOW/ARISE) Mathematics
9 12
Systemic Initiative for Montana Mathematics and Science (SIMMS) Mathematics
11-12
Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus Calculus
Note: Shaded curricula are those for which we have found the strongest evidence of effectiveness, that is, quantitative evidence that their use in instruction elicits higher achieve-
ment/performance in students than other curricula to which they are compared on both standardized and/or state tests and on curriculum developed tests. There are several curricula
for which this evidence of effectiveness has not been collected but which might also qualify as effective should appropriate studies be conducted. An omission from this list of many
curricula signiﬁes merely that these curricula have not yet provided quantitative evidence of effectiveness that meets our criteria.
*An asterisk marks curricula for which effectiveness data are provided for subgroups of students, indicated in brackets. (See full report on the web for discussion of research ﬁnd-
ings by subgroup.)
5
6.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
A Description of the Mathematics Curricula ity, and differential and integral calculus, with Calculus BC
and Evaluation Studies Found covering these topics more extensively than Calculus AB.
Prerequisites include knowledge of analytic geometry and
In addition to a description of each curriculum, these
elementary functions in addition to college preparatory
overviews (presented in alphabetical order) include the
algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Enrolled students are
type of student achievement measure used, the number
expected to take the Advanced Placement examination in
and direction of the results, and, if available, the size of
Calculus AB or BC.
any differences between groups. If the results were broken
out by sex and/or race and ethnicity, this too is indicated. Contact
The types of measures used in the impact studies are College Board Headquarters
broken into ﬁve categories: 45 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023-6992
Standardized achievement tests (i.e., PSAT, SAT, SAT-9,
Tel: 212-713-8066
and Iowa Test of Basic Skills)
Web site: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/article/0,3045,
State-mandated achievement tests (i.e., FCAS, MEAP, 151-165-0-2178,00.html
and MCAS)
Standards-based, curriculum-driven measures (i.e., Results
Balanced Assessment, Problem Situation Test)
Teacher-based measures (i.e., GPA, school tests, and Five results were found from studies on the effect of AP
mathematics courses taken) Calculus courses. These studies compared college mathe-
matics performance of students who took AP Calculus
Percent passing different mathematics courses
with other students who did not.
In the charts that follow within this appendix, results
were tracked rather than the number of studies. Multiple Number
grades and multiple measures were counted as multiple Type of measure of results Results Effect size
results and broken out as such. For example, a study that Teacher-based 3 AP students scored higher No effect
looked at the impact of different subsets of a curriculum measures/GPA in two results; there were size reported
for sixth, seventh, and eighth grades was counted as three no differences in one
results. Cohort studies that tracked students across multi- result.
ple grades were counted as one result. Also counted as one Pass rates/ 2 AP students scored higher No effect
result were ﬁndings from different sites within the same courses taken in one result, and there size reported
study using the same measure. If a majority of sites had were no differences in
changes favoring the tested curriculum, the result was one result.
indicated as positive. If the majority of sites did not differ
from the comparison, the result was indicated as no Results were not reported by sex, race, or ethnicity.
change. If a majority of sites had changes favoring the
comparison curriculum, the result was indicated as
negative. Cognitive Tutor
Note: Most impact studies for math curricula reported the statistical sig- The Cognitive Tutor (CT), from Carnegie Learning,
niﬁcance of their results. Only differences that have reached the conserva- includes full curricula in Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II,
tive minimum acceptable statistical signiﬁcance level of .05 were included
in the results reported for each study. If differences are statistically signiﬁ-
an Integrated Math Series, and Quantitative Literacy
cant, then there is another measure, called an effect size, which shows Through Algebra. Each curriculum combines software-
how big the difference is. In our description of the study results, we pro- based, individualized computer lessons with collaborative,
vide effect sizes where available, although very few studies reported real-world problem-solving activities. Students spend
these results. Effect sizes greater than .4 are considered large; between .2
about 40 percent of their class time using the software and
and .4 are considered moderate; and less than .2 are considered small.
the remainder of their time engaged in classroom problem-
solving activities.
Contact
Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus
Carnegie Learning, Inc.
The AP Calculus curriculum includes two courses: AP 1200 Penn Avenue
Calculus AB, which is comparable to one semester of col- Suite 150
lege-level calculus, and AP Calculus BC, which is com- Pittsburgh, PA 15222
parable to two semesters of college-level calculus. Both Tel: 888-851-7094
courses include elementary functions, limits and continu- E-mail: info@carnegielearning.com
6
7.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Results Results
Twenty-one results from studies on the effect of CT were Six results from studies on the effect of CPM were found,
found, all of which focused on Algebra I at the middle and one of which focused on algebra and ﬁve of which focused
high school level. on grade 9–11 math.
Number Number
Type of measure of results Results Effect size Type of measure of results Results Effect size
Standardized 8 CT students scored higher Moderate Standardized 5 There were no differences No effect
achievement in all eight results. effect size achievement in all ﬁve results. size reported
tests in one result tests
Statewide tests 5 CT students scored higher No effect Teacher- 1 There were no differences. No effect
in three results; there size reported developed size reported
were no differences in measure
two results.
Results were not reported by sex, race, or ethnicity.
Curriculum-driven, 7 CT students scored higher Large effect
skill-speciﬁc tests in seven results. sizes in two
results
Passing rates 1 CT students had higher No effect Connected Mathematics (CMP)
passing rates. size reported
The Connected Mathematics (CMP) curriculum is com-
posed of eight models, each focusing on one important
Two results looked at sex differences; in one result, CT area of mathematics and emphasizing previously learned
boys’ scores were higher than comparison boys. There content. Connected Mathematics is designed to develop
were no differences between boys in one result, and there students’ knowledge and understanding of mathematics
were no differences for the girls’ scores in either result. through attention to connections between mathematical
Two results reported differences by race and ethnicity. In ideas and their applications in the world outside school;
one result, African-American CT students had higher among the core ideas in mathematics; among the strands
scores than comparison African-American students, and
in a modern mathematics curriculum; and between the
there were no differences for Hispanic students. In the
planned teaching-learning activities and the special apti-
second result, Hispanic CT students scored higher than
tudes and interests of middle school students.
comparison Hispanic students.
Contact
Pearson Education
College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) P.O. Box 2500
The CPM series offers a four-year integrated curriculum Lebanon, IN 46052-3009
where mathematics topics are revisited and built upon Tel: 800-848-9500
through the years. Problem-solving strategies are empha- Web site: http://www.phschool.com/math/
sized as a vehicle for learning mathematics, and student
study teams are an integral part of the learning process.
Results
Based on the belief that concept mastery requires time, the
curriculum spirals through practice of the main course Thirty-four results from comparison studies looking at
concepts throughout each year and emphasizes students’ the effect of CMP were found focusing on middle grade
supportive group work. The program sees the teacher’s mathematics.
role as a guide.
Number
Contact Type of measure of results Results Effect size
CPM Business Ofﬁce Standardized 11 CMP students scored No effect
1233 Noonan Drive achievement higher for six results; they size reported
Sacramento, CA 95822 tests scored lower for one result;
Tel: 916-681-3611 and there were no differ-
Web site: http://www.cpm.org ences for four results.
(continued)
7
8.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Number Number
Type of measure of results Results Effect size Type of measure of results Results Effect size
Statewide 16 CMP students scored No effect Standardized 43 In 19 of the results, CPMP No effect
tests higher for 14 results; there size reported achievement students scored higher; size reported
were no differences for tests in 24 results, there were
two results. no differences.
Curriculum-driven, 6 CMP students scored Large effect Statewide 5 Students scored higher in No effect
skill-speciﬁc tests higher for all six results. sizes were tests all ﬁve results. size reported
found for Curriculum-driven, 2 Students scored higher in No effect
one result. skill-speciﬁc tests both results. size reported
Teacher-based 1 CMP students scored No effect Teacher-based 6 CPMP students scored No effect
measure higher in one result. size reported measure/GPA higher in one result, no size reported
differently in another, and
lower in four results.
Seven results were broken out by race/ethnicity and
two by sex. No signiﬁcant sex differences were found.
African-American CMP students were found to score Results were not reported by sex, race, or ethnicity.
higher than African-American comparison students in six
results, while Hispanic CMP students scored higher than
Hispanic comparison students in four results; in a ﬁfth
result, there were no differences. African-American and
Hispanic CMP students showed greater gains than others Direct Instruction
in two results, while African Americans alone showed
greater gains in one result. In one result, Native-American In Direct Instruction (DI), each program is fully scripted,
CMP student performance decreased. from what the teacher says and anticipated student
responses, to correctional procedures. Each skill is broken
down into its component parts, and then each component
of the skill is taught to mastery. Afterward, the skills are
Contemporary Mathematics in Context: combined within a larger context where they may be uti-
lized across settings, resulting in generalized ﬂuency. The
A Uniﬁed Approach
DI mathematics curriculum covers grades K–8, but focuses
(Core PLUS Mathematics CPMP) primarily on grades K–6. The mathematics curriculum
Core-Plus Mathematics consists of a single core sequence covers 19 different topics ranging from addition and sub-
for both college-bound and employment-bound students traction to money, mathematics study skills (graphs,
during the ﬁrst three years of high school. A ﬂexible fourth charts, maps, and statistics), and geometry.
year course can be used to prepare students for college
mathematics.
Contact
Contact The McGraw-Hill Companies
P.O. Box 182604
Core-Plus Mathematics Project
Columbus, OH 43272
Department of Mathematics
Tel: 888-772-4543
Western Michigan University
Web site: http://www.sraonline.com/index.php/home/
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5248
curriculumsolutions/di/connectingmath/114
Tel: 866-407-CPMP (2767)
E-mail: cpmp@wmich.edu
Results
Results
Nine results from comparison studies on the effect of DI
Fifty-six results from comparison studies on the effect of were found which focus on seventh and eighth grade
CPMP were found focusing on high school math. math.
8
9.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Number Integrated Mathematics, Science,
Type of measure of results Results Effect size and Technology (IMaST)
Standardized 6 DI students scored higher No effect
The Integrated Mathematics, Science, and Technology pro-
achievement for four results; they size reported
tests scored lower for two gram provides integrated sixth, seventh, and eighth grade
results. curricula that promote hands-on learning for students and
teamwork among teachers from different disciplines.
State test 3 In all three results, DI No effect
students scored higher. size reported IMaST emphasizes learning based on constructivist theory
and active student participation involving a hands-on
Results were not reported by sex, race, or ethnicity. approach comprising a wide variety of activities.
Edison Schools Contact
Founded in 1992, Edison Schools is focused on raising stu- Ronjon Publishing, Inc.
dent achievement through research-based school design, 1001 S. Mayhill Rd.
aligned assessment systems, interactive professional devel- Denton, TX 76208
opment, integrated use of technology, and other program Tel: 800-262-3060
features, including a longer school day and school year. The Web site:
math curriculum for grades 6–8 includes applied arithmetic,
http://www.ilstu.edu/depts/cemast/programs/imast.shtml
prealgebra, and pregeometry, using a spiral curriculum
approach to teach concepts and ideas. The mathematics in
grades 9–10 provides three years of high school math in two Results
years’ time, using an integrated application-based approach
to algebra, geometry, and trigonometry with additional One study was found looking at the effect of IMaST focus-
emphasis on probability, statistics, and discrete mathemat- ing on seventh and eighth grade students.
ics. Grades 11 and 12 incorporate advanced mathematical
modeling, Calculus and Statistics, Algebra 2, and
Number
Precalculus, as well as AP Statistics and Calculus. Type of measure of results Results Effect size
Contact Standardized 1 IMaST students scored No effect
521 Fifth Avenue, 11th Floor achievement higher for the one result. size reported
New York, NY 10175 tests
Tel: 212-419-1600
Web site: http://www.edisonschools.com/
Results were not reported by sex, race, or ethnicity.
Results
Seventeen results from comparison studies on the effect of
Edison Schools were found; ﬁfteen focus on middle school
math and two focus on high school math.
Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP)
Number
Type of measure of results Results Effect size This four year, problem-based curriculum incorporates tra-
Standardized 8 For four results, Edison No effect ditional branches of mathematics (algebra, geometry, and
achievement students scored higher; size reported trigonometry) with additional topics recommended by the
tests in the remaining four, there NCTM Standards, such as statistics, probability, curve ﬁt-
were no differences.
ting, and matrix algebra. Students are encouraged to
State test 9 For two results, Edison No effect experiment, investigate, ask questions, make and test con-
students scored higher; size reported jectures, reﬂect, and accurately communicate their ideas
for four results, Edison
students scored lower; and conclusions. Although each unit has a speciﬁc mathe-
and for three results, there matical focus, other topics are brought in as needed to
were no differences. solve the central problem. Ideas that are developed in one
unit are usually revisited and deepened in one or more
Results were not reported by sex, race, or ethnicity. later units. Algebra and geometry are distributed through-
out the four years.
9
10.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Contact Results
Key Curriculum Press Fifteen results from comparison studies were found on the
1150 65th Street effect of MC, all of which focused on high school students.
Emeryville, CA 94608
Tel: 800-995-MATH (6824)
Number
Web site: http://www.keypress.com/catalog/products/ Type of measure of results Results Effect size
textbooks/Prod_IMP.html
Standardized 6 MC students scored No effect
Results achievement higher for three results; for size reported
tests three results, there were
Twenty-two results from comparison studies were found
were no differences.
on the effect of IMP, all focusing on high school.
State test 8 MC students scored There was a
Number
higher for all eight results. large effect
Type of measure of results Results Effect size size for three
results.
Standardized 12 IMP students scored No effect
achievement higher for eight results; size reported Curriculum-driven, 1 No difference was found. N/A
tests there were no differences skill-speciﬁc test
for four results.
Pass rates or 5 In all ﬁve results, IMP No effect One result looked at sex, race, and ethnic differences
courses taken students had higher pass- size reported and found no differences within MC students.
ing rates and/or were more
likely to take more mathe-
matics courses.
Curriculum-driven, 3 IMP students scored Large effect
skill-speciﬁc tests higher for all three results. sizes were Mathematics in Context (MiC)
found in the
three results Mathematics in Context is a four-year middle school cur-
Teacher-based 2 In both results, IMP No effect riculum (grades 5–8) that encourages students to discover
measure students scored higher. size reported mathematical concepts and skills through engaging prob-
lems and meaningful contexts. Each year includes lessons
Results were not reported by race or ethnicity. The one in the four strands (numbers, algebra, geometry and statis-
result reported by sex found IMP girls were slightly more tics, and probability) that are interwoven through 10 units.
apt to continue three or more years in math than IMP boys, For example, sample algebra units include Patterns and
while the reverse was the case for comparison students. Symbols (grade 5), Expressions and Formulas (grade 6),
Ups and Downs (grade 7), and Graphing Equations
(grade 8).
MATH Connections
Contact
MATH Connections (MC) is an integrated curriculum that
blends ideas from traditionally separate mathematical Holt, Rinehart and Winston
ﬁelds (e.g., algebra, geometry, statistics, and discrete math- Attn: Ms. Web1
ematics) in ways that blur the lines between them. This 10801 N. MoPac Expressway
three year curriculum replaces the traditional Algebra I, Building 3
Geometry, Algebra II sequence and is designed for all stu- Austin, TX 78759
dents in grades 9, 10, and 11, with honors students begin- Tel: 800-HRW-9799 (800-479-9799)
ning the curriculum in grade 8. Web sites: http://www.hrw.com
http://mic.britannica.com/mic/common/home.asp
Contact
750 Old Main Street
Suite 303 Results
Rocky Hill, CT 06067-1567
Tel: 860-721-7010 Twenty results from comparison studies were found on the
Web site: http://www.mathconnections.com effect of MiC, which focused on middle school students.
10
11.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Number Number
Type of measure of results Results Effect size Type of measure of results Results Effect size
Standardized 17 In 15 results, MiC In two Standardized 4 For three results, MMOW No effect
achievement students scored higher; in results, a achievement students scored higher; size reported
tests two results, there were no majority of tests for one result, there were
differences. classes no differences.
showed at
least moder- Results were not reported by sex, race, or ethnicity.
ate effect
sizes.
State test 3 MiC students scored No effect Mathematics with Meaning
higher for all three results. size reported
Mathematics with Meaning (MwM) is not a complete cur-
ricular program; rather, it is a combination of professional
One result was broken out by race. No statistically sig- development, instructional strategies, and carefully
niﬁcant difference was found between African-American planned materials designed to alter the pedagogy and
students using MiC and comparison students. content of middle school and high school mathematics
courses in order to improve student achievement. The pro-
gram consists of instructional units that teachers may use
on a supplementary basis or as their entire instructional
program. MwM takes a student-centered approach based
Mathematics: Modeling Our World on exploratory learning and problem solving, focusing on
(MMOW/ARISE) developing conceptual understanding, connections, and
communication with mathematical concepts through fre-
In Mathematics: Modeling Our World (MMOW), students quent group work and hands-on activities.
are taught to use a variety of resources to solve problems
and to choose resources that meet the needs of a particular Contact
situation. As in real life, MMOW’s problems do not neces- College Board
sarily have perfect solutions. MMOW works to strengthen Dept CBO
the students’ ability to solve problems by setting goals and P.O. Box 869010
thinking strategically about how to achieve these goals, Plano, TX 75074
solving problems through trial and error and/or process Tel: 212-713-8260
of elimination, using technology like calculators and com- Tel: 800-323-7155
puters, and working together to solve semi-structured E-mail: Collegeboardcustomerservice@pfsweb.com
problems and communicating the solutions. Web site: http://www.collegeboard.com
Contact Results
W.H. Freeman and Company Eleven results from comparison studies on the effect of
41 Madison Avenue MwM were found; three focused on middle school math
New York, NY 10010 achievement and eight on high school math achievement.
Tel: 800-446-8923
Web sites: http://www.whfreeman.com/highschool/ Number
Type of measure of results Results Effect size
contact_hs_rep.asp
http://www.comap.com/highschool/projects/mmow/ Statewide tests 11 In six results, there were No effect
introduction.htm no differences; in ﬁve reported
results, MwM students
scored higher.
Results
Six results were broken out by sex, four by race. In the
Four results related to MMOW were found, one focusing six results where sex differences were given, boys slightly
on middle school students and three focusing on high outperformed girls. In four results where race/ethnic dif-
school students. ferences were given, achievement scores were signiﬁcantly
11
12.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
lower for African-American students than other students school level. Each lesson includes a Think and Discuss sec-
in both MwM and comparison groups. tion that presents the new material along with questions to
get students actively thinking about and discussing impor-
tant concepts. Textbooks in this curriculum include Work
Together activities that allow students to work in groups,
Middle Grades MATHThematics
often doing hands-on activities to reinforce math topics.
Middle Grades MATHThematics (STEM) is a three-year
curriculum designed for use in grades 6–8. Four unifying Contact
concepts—Proportional Reasoning, Multiple Represen-
Pearson Education
tations, Patterns and Generalizations, and Modeling—are
P.O. Box 2500
used across the three years with seven content strands:
Lebanon, IN 46052-3009
Number, Measurement, Geometry, Statistics, Probability,
Tel: 800-848-9500
Algebra, and Discrete Mathematics.
Web site: http://www.phschool.com/math/
Contact
Results
McDougal Littell Customer Service Center
Eleven results from comparison studies on the effect of
A Houghton Mifﬂin Company
PHM were found.
1900 S. Batavia
Geneva IL 60134
Number
Tel: 617-351-5326
Type of measure of results Results Effect size
Tel: 800-462-6595
Web sites: http://www.mcdougallittell.com/ Standardized 8 PHM students scored Moderate
achievement higher in ﬁve results; in effect sizes
http://www.classzone.com/math_middle.cfm
tests three results, there in one result
were no differences.
Results
Statewide tests 2 PHM students scored No effect
Six results from comparison studies were found on the higher in both results. size reported
effect of STEM. Curriculum-driven, 1 PHM students scored No effect
skill-speciﬁc tests higher in this result. size reported
Number
Type of measure of results Results Effect size
Results were not reported by sex, race, or ethnicity.
Standardized 2 In one result, STEM stu- No effect
achievement dents scored higher; in size reported
tests the second, there were no
differences. Saxon Math: An Incremental Development
Statewide tests 2 In one result, STEM stu- No effect Saxon Math (SM) is a K–12 curriculum that systematically
dents scored higher; in size reported distributes instruction, practice, and assessment through-
the second, there were no out the academic year rather than concentrating concepts
differences. in a single unit or chapter. Each increment builds upon the
Curriculum-driven, 2 In both results, STEM stu- No effect foundation of earlier increments, to lead students toward
skill-speciﬁc tests dents scored higher. size reported a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.
Instruction of related concepts is spread throughout the
Results were not reported by sex, race, or ethnicity. grade level, ensuring that students have an opportunity
to master each concept before they are introduced to the
next one.
Prentice Hall: Tools for Success Contact
In Prentice Hall Math (PHM), various mathematical Saxon Publishers
strands (such as number sense, algebra, geometry, mea- 2600 John Saxon Blvd.
surement, data analysis, and problem solving) are inte- Norman, OK 73071
grated throughout the series to ensure that students are Tel: 800-284-7019
prepared for subsequent mathematics courses at the high E-mail: info@saxonpublishers.com
12
13.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Results Number
Type of measure of results Results Effect size
A total of eight results from comparison studies were
found on the impact of SM, focusing on both middle and Standardized 6 No differences were found No effect
high school. achievement in the six results. size reported
tests
Curriculum-driven, 6 In one result, SIMMS stu- No effect
Number
skill-speciﬁc tests dents scored higher; no size reported
Type of measure of results Results Effect size
differences were found in
Standardized 3 SM students scored No effect the other ﬁve.
achievement higher in all three results. size reported
tests Results were not reported by sex, race, or ethnicity.
Statewide tests 3 SM students scored No effect
higher in all three results. size reported
Curriculum-driven, 1 SM students scored No effect University of Chicago School Mathematics
skill-speciﬁc tests higher in this result. size reported Project (UCSMP)
Teacher-based 1 SM students scored No effect The UCSMP secondary curriculum consists of six courses:
measure/GPA higher in this result. size reported Transitional Mathematics; Algebra; Geometry; Advanced
Algebra; Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry; and Pre-
Results were not reported by sex, race, or ethnicity. Calculus and Discrete Mathematics. Transitional Mathe-
matics, which was originally designed for average to above
average seventh graders (but can be started earlier or later),
weaves together three more or less equal strands of major
content: applied arithmetic, prealgebra, and elementary
geometry. Algebra, geometry, and some discrete mathematics
Systemic Initiative for Montana are integrated into all courses, as are statistics and probability.
Mathematics and Science (SIMMS)
Contact
The SIMMS curriculum is divided into six levels, each
UCSMP
consisting of one year of work. Level 1 is typically offered
5835 South Kimbark Avenue
to ninth graders, followed by level 2 in grade 10. After
Chicago, IL 60637
completing level 2, students may choose between levels 3
Tel: 773-702-1130
and 4 and then proceed to either level 5 or 6 in the subse-
Web site: http://socialsciences.uchicago.edu/ucsmp/
quent year. The sequence for potential math and science
majors is 1-2-4-6. Levels 1 and 2 offer basic mathematical Results
literacy.
Fourteen results were found from comparison studies
on the effect of UCSMP. The following UCSMP courses
Contact were covered: Transitional Mathematics (2), Algebra (2),
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Geometry (5), Advanced Algebra (4), and Pre-Calculus and
4050 Westmark Drive Discrete Mathematics (1).
P.O. Box 1840
Number
Dubuque, IA 52004-1840 Type of measure of results Results Effect size
Tel: 800-542-6657
Standardized 5 In all ﬁve results, UCSMP No effect
Web sites: http://www.simms-im.com
achievement students scored higher. size reported
http://www.montana.edu/~wwwsimms/
tests
Curriculum-driven, 8 In all eight results, UCSMP No effect
Results skill-speciﬁc tests students scored higher. size reported
Teacher-based 1 No differences were found. No effect
Twelve results from comparison studies were found on the measure/GPA size reported
effect of SIMMS. Four results each focused on levels 1 and
2, and two each focused on levels 4 and 6. Results were not reported by sex, race, or ethnicity.
13
14.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Appendix B
DETAILED FINDINGS OF THE REVIEW OF SCIENCE CURRICULA
This appendix provides a list of the science curricula included in our review, together with a description of
each curriculum and its related evaluation studies. Table 2 below lists the science curricula that we identiﬁed
as having evaluation studies that met our criteria.
TABLE 2. Science Curricula with Studies
Grades Covered Curriculum Name Subject Matter
K 12
Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound (ELOB) *[LEP] Whole School Reform
K 8
Full Option Science System (FOSS) *[LEP] Multi-Science
PK 8
Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) Math & Multi-Science
K 6
The Science Curriculum Improvement Study (SCIS) Multi-Science
2 8
National Science Curriculum for High Ability Learners Multi-Science
6 8
DESIGNS/DESIGNS II *[sex] Physical Science
6 8
Integrated Math, Science and Technology (IMaST) Math, Science & Technology
6 8
Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools (LeTUS) *[sex] Multi-Science
6 8
Learning By Design (LBD) Multi-Science
6 8
Science 2000/Science 2000+ Multi-Science
6 8
Science and Technology Concepts for Middle School (STC/MS) Multi-Science
6 9
Event-Based Science (EBS) Earth Science
78
Constructing Ideas in Physical Science (CIPS) *[sex] Physical Science
7 9
Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching (FAST) Multi-Science
7 9
Global Lab Curriculum (GLC) Multi-Science, Environmental Focus
7 9
Issues, Evidence and You (IEY)/SEPUP Multi-Science
9 11
BSCS: An Inquiry Approach Multi-Science
9 12
High Schools that Work (HSTW) Whole School Reform
9 12
Modeling Instruction in High School Physics *[sex] Physics
9 12
World Watcher/Learning About the Environment (LATE) *[urban] Environmental Science
10 12
Physics Resources and Instructional Strategies for Motivating Students (PRISMS) Physics
Note: Shaded curricula are those for which we have found the strongest evidence of effectiveness, that is, quantitative evidence that (1) their use in instruction elicits higher achieve-
ment/performance in students than other curricula to which they are compared on both standardized and/or state tests and on curriculum developed tests, or (2) they showed large
effect sizes in terms of increasing student achievement. All science curricula listed in Table 2, however, have credible evaluations that show evidence of effectiveness. There are sev-
eral curricula for which this evidence of effectiveness has not been collected but which might also qualify as effective should appropriate studies be conducted. An omission from
this list of many curricula signiﬁes merely that these curricula have not yet provided quantitative evidence of effectiveness that meets our criteria.
*An asterisk marks curricula for which effectiveness data are provided for subgroups of students, indicated in brackets. (See full report on the web for discussion of research ﬁnd-
ings by subgroup.)
14
15.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
A Description of the Science Curricula Number
and Evaluation Studies Found Type of measure of results Results Effect size
The attached descriptions of science curricula, which Content test, 1 Average student gains at No effect
appear in alphabetical order, include the type of student unknown if self- both 9th and 10th grade size reported
achievement measure used, the number and direction of designed or levels were between 20
state-issued and 25 percent.
the results, and, if available, the size of any differences
between groups. When known, effect sizes have been Note: Statistical signiﬁcance levels were not reported.
listed. Where results have been provided by race/ethnic- The ﬁeld test was conducted across 10 states and
ity, sex, or other demographic characteristics, we have re- included students in urban, suburban, and rural schools.
ported these. The absence of such notation means that no However, data regarding speciﬁc demographic groups
data were reported by subgroup. In the case of three cur- was not provided.
ricula, descriptions of studies do not follow the normal
format because results reported are not best described in
that particular format.
Center for Learning Technologies
Note: Almost all impact studies for science curricula reported the statisti- in Urban Schools (LeTUS)
cal signiﬁcance of their results. Only differences that have reached the
conservative minimum acceptable statistical signiﬁcance level of .05 were LeTUS, developed by researchers at the University of
included in the results reported for each study. If differences are statisti- Michigan and Detroit public school teachers, includes pro-
cally signiﬁcant, then there is another measure, called an effect size, that
ject-based curriculum materials that build from district,
shows how big the difference is. In our description of the study results,
we provide effect sizes where available, although few studies reported state, and national standards to support the development
these results. Effect sizes greater than .4 are considered large, between .2 of integrated science understanding for middle school stu-
and .4 are considered moderate, and less than .2 are considered small. dents. The materials support students’ science learning
through engaging them in inquiry about real world prob-
lems, providing them with multiple opportunities to work
with concepts, and integrating the use of learning tech-
BSCS: An Inquiry Approach nologies in instruction. LeTUS is focused on learning
This program introduces 9th, 10th, and 11th grade stu- about and developing a new machine to construct large
dents to the core concepts in inquiry, the physical sciences, buildings and bridges, an area that has been identiﬁed as
the life sciences, and the earth–space sciences as articu- of interest to young urban students.
lated in the National Science Education Standards. In addi-
Contact
tion, the curriculum engages students in integration across
Joseph Krajcik
the disciplines in relevant contexts that explore the stan-
School of Education
dards related to science in a personal and social perspec-
University of Michigan
tive. This program provides high school students with an
610 East University Avenue, Rm. 4109
alternative to the traditional sequence of biology, chem- Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259
istry, and physics. Included with this program is a profes- Tel: 734-647-0597
sional development component designed to help teachers Fax: 734-615-5245
and school districts implement the materials. E-mail: krajcik@umich.edu
Contact Results
Pamela Van Scotter Two evaluations of the LeTUS program were found, one
Director that utilized skill-speciﬁc instruments and one that used
The BSCS Center for Curriculum Development statewide achievement test scores to measure effectiveness.
BSCS 5415, Mark Dabling Blvd.
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80918 Type of Number
Web site: http://www.bscs.org/page.asp?id=curriculum_ measure of results Results Effect size
development|high_school_9-12|An_Inquiry_Approach
Curriculum- 1 Signiﬁcant content and Large effect size for
driven,skill- process gains that in- content achieve-
Results speciﬁc creased with program ment and more
Most of the evaluative work on this was of the materials, tests revision and scale-up moderate effects
for process skills.
not student achievement; however, the results of a nation-
wide ﬁeld test are summarized below. (continued)
15
16.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
CIPS participation did not appear to have closed either
Type of Number
measure of results Results Effect size sex (male/female) or racial (white/Asian versus non-Asian
minority) achievement gaps on either multiple-choice con-
Statewide 1 Students who completed Moderate effect tent or process questions or open-ended content items.
tests at least one LeTUS unit size for all three
in seventh or eighth content areas and
grade outperformed both process
peers in all content and areas. Moderate DESIGNS/DESIGNS II
process categories effects in increas-
measured by the test. test passing rates. Project DESIGNS (Doable Engineering Science Inves-
tigations Geared for Non-science Students), developed
Program- 1 Sixth graders showed Large effect size by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics,
designed signiﬁcant overall im- for achievement includes design-based activity modules for use in physical
measures provement on pre- and gains pre- and science and technology education courses in grades 5–9.
post-test measures over post-test The project’s six topics cover chemistry, static forces, elec-
a four-year period. tricity and magnetism, potential and kinetic energy, energy
transfer, and force, work, power, and torque. Designs II
The study looking at differences by sex indicated that resulted from a follow-up effort to develop a full-year
participation in at least one LeTUS unit is associated with middle school (grades 7–9) physical science course based
an apparent reduction in boy-girl achievement differences on the modules. Project pedagogy was derived from the
on statewide examinations. constructivist model of learning and takes into account stu-
dents’ personal theories. The project’s goal was to open sci-
ence concepts to students through activities involving the
Constructing Ideas in Physical Science (CIPS) design, construction, and optimization of simple devices.
Constructing Ideas in Physical Science (CIPS) is an Contact
inquiry-based, yearlong physical science course that Program overview:
attempts to engage seventh or eighth grade middle school Web site: http://cfa-
students in constructing meaningful understanding of www.harvard.edu/sed/resources/designsinfo.html
physical science concepts. The CIPS course is based on the Publisher:
themes of interactions and energy transfers between Kendall/Hunt
objects. CIPS has ﬁve units. Each unit consists of two or Tel: 800-542-6657
three cycles of activities designed to help students develop Web site: http://www.kendallhunt.com/index.cfm?PID=219
physics and chemistry concepts. &PGI=152
Contact Results
CIPS Project Number
6475 Alvarado Road, Suite 206 Type of measure of results Results Effect size
San Diego, CA 92120
Self-designed 1 Designs II students gained Large
Fax: 619-594-1581
test to measure over control students.
E-mail: cips@public.sdsu.edu
Web site: http://cipsproject.sdsu.edu
process skills
Publisher: Self-designed 1 Students with initially lower
It’s About Time, Inc. tests to measure (same scores gain more. Large
Tel: 888-698-TIME (8463) conceptual as
knowledge above)
Results
Analysis by sex for conceptual knowledge shows no
Number signiﬁcant difference in gains.
Type of measure of results Results Effect size
Multiple-choice 1 CIPS students scored Small
content items higher than non-CIPS com-
parisons after controlling Event-Based Science (EBS)
Multiple-choice for prior knowledge, stu- Small The Event-Based Science (EBS) series is a module-based
process items dent demographics, and program designed for students in grades 6–9, with a focus
weeks of instruction in on current events. The series has 18 modules designed to
Open-ended Physical Science. Moderate last four to six weeks, each focusing on different themes
content items
and concepts across the domains of earth, life, and physical
16
17.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
sciences. The modules may be sequenced over all middle through projects, ﬁeldwork, and service. Learning expedi-
school grade levels and combined with other instructional tions are designed with clear learning goals aligned with
materials in order to build a comprehensive middle school district and state standards. Ongoing assessment is woven
science program. One or two modules typically are used in throughout each learning expedition.
a year, with teachers selecting particular units based on the
district’s science standards, the local curriculum program, Contact
the interests of the student population, and their own back- Expeditionary Learning
ground knowledge in speciﬁc topics. EBS is not a “stand 100 Mystery Point Road
alone” curriculum. By design, teachers and students sup- Garrison, NY 10524
plement each module with additional data about a speciﬁc Tel: 845-424-4000
event from various resources included as part of the mate- E-mail: info@elob.org
rials, or suggested by the program. Web site: http://www.elob.org/
Contact
Results
Russ Wright, Project Director
Montgomery County Public Schools Only one study of many found for ELOB looked at science
850 Hungerford Drive achievement. Two schools are included in this study, but
Rockville, MD 20850 only one includes data for science.
Tel: 301-806-7252
Fax: 301-279-3153 Number
Type of measure of results Results Effect size
E-mail: russ@eventbasedscience.com
Web site: http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/departments/ Standardized 1 ELOB students showed No effect
eventscience/ tests steady gains in science. size reported
Results One of the schools in the study experienced an in-
One interim study of the impact of EBS was found. This crease of about 22 percent in immigrant students (who
study measures the ﬁrst three years of the EBS project. The were limited English proﬁcient) over the ﬁve years
report of the ﬁnal ﬁndings from the six-year project is not accounted for in the evaluation. The school showed consis-
yet available. tent gains in all subject areas. This same school also has a
high number of students qualifying for free and reduced
Number
Type of measure of results Results Effect size
price lunch. The evaluation concludes that ELOB, in this
instance, is “particularly successful with a challenging,
Curriculum- 1 In two of the three tested Small normally low-achieving population.”
driven, years, EBS students out-
skills-speciﬁc, performed the control group,
multiple-choice after controlling for prior
test science performance.
Foundational Approaches
Science attitudes EBS students displayed Small
in Science Teaching (FAST)
survey more positive attitudes
about science than the Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching (FAST) is a
control group. three-volume, comprehensive curriculum program based
Task-based EBS students outperformed Moderate on a constructivist philosophy of learning in which stu-
performance the control group, controlling dents construct their own knowledge through experiential,
assessment rubric for prior science performance. hands-on learning. Investigations help students build on
existing knowledge and reinforce conceptual understand-
ing throughout their work. The continual reinforcement
and return to concepts allows students to achieve a deep
understanding of the material and to arrive at that under-
Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound (ELOB) standing at different points in the curriculum. FAST puts
As a whole school reform effort, Expeditionary Learning the teacher in the role of “director of research.” The pro-
Outward Bound (ELOB), K–12, organizes curriculum, gram emphasizes an instructional strategy that is based on
instruction, assessment, school culture, and school struc- the teacher’s question development practices and other
tures around producing high quality student work in techniques that encourage students to think critically. It is
learning expeditions. These expeditions are long-term, heavily laboratory-based, with most concepts taught
in-depth investigations of themes or topics designed through laboratory experiences where students develop
to engage students both in and beyond the classroom skills in measurement and lab procedures.
17
18.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Contact Phone: 510-642-8941
Fax: 510 642-7387
Donald Young, CRDG Director
Email: foss@berkeley.edu
The University of Hawaii
Web sites: http://www.lhsfoss.org/
The Curriculum Research & Development Group,
http://www.delta-education.com/science/foss/index. shtml
Science Section
1776 University Avenue, UHS Building 2, Room 202
Results
Honolulu, HI 96822-2463
Tel: 808-956-4969 Two studies of FOSS materials met our criteria, though in
Fax: 808-956-6730 each of these, use of FOSS was included as only one part
E-mail: crdg@hawaii.edu of a larger curriculum or professional development
Web site: http://www.hawaii.edu/crdg/FAST.pdf intervention.
A 2003 evaluation of the NSF-sponsored Project In-
Results quiry, a broad professional development intervention
Number including the adoption and use of FOSS materials, revealed
Type of measure of results Results Effect size that ﬁfth grade students of teachers trained in kit use per-
formed signiﬁcantly higher on both multiple-choice and
Laboratory skills 2 FAST students outper- No effect
constructed/open-ended response assessments than did the
Process skills 1 formed non-FAST compar- size reported
control group. Self-reported hours of teacher professional
Knowledge skills 1 ison group.
development were also positively associated with science
Statewide test 1 In one of two years tested, No effect achievement. The authors conclude that professional devel-
scores FAST students scored sig- size reported opment is associated with better implementation of inquiry-
niﬁcantly higher than the based instruction and greater science topic coverage, which
state average, after control- is in turn associated with science achievement.
ling for student background. A 2002 study of the use of multiple kit- and inquiry-
Standardized 2 FAST students outper- No effect based science materials (including FOSS) in fourth and
test scores formed non-FAST students size reported sixth grade classes for English language learners revealed
in one study. In the second, a positive relationship between years in the science pro-
both FAST and non-FAST gram and standardized science test scores. This relation-
groups scored above na- ship remained after controlling for the students’ increasing
tional norms. English language proﬁciency.
Global Lab Curriculum (GLC)
Full Option Science System
for Middle School (FOSS) The Global Lab Curriculum (GLC) was a four-year project
to create a science course emphasizing student collabora-
The Full Option Science System (FOSS) was developed by tive inquiry. Organized around six units, GLC culminates
the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California– in the design and conduct of original student investiga-
Berkeley. Funded by the National Science Foundation, FOSS tions. The structure purposefully provides substantial
combines science content and process with a goal of increas- guidance to students in initial investigations and gradu-
ing scientiﬁc literacy for students and instructional efﬁ- ally peels away the support to allow students to exercise
ciency for teachers. The curriculum is organized into topical acquired skills in designing and conducting their own
units, called courses, under each of three strands: Earth and collaborative experiments. GLC is also designed to cap-
Space Science, Life Science, and Physical Science and italize on the Internet as both a communication and moti-
Technology. Each course is an in-depth unit requiring 9 to 12 vational tool that helps establish a cross-cultural science
weeks of instruction. The units have approximately community.
10 investigations, each with three to seven parts. The system
advocates that students should learn important scientiﬁc Contact
concepts and develop the ability to think well if they are Harold McWilliams
engaged in situations where they actively construct ideas TERC Center for Earth and Space Science Education
through their own explorations, applications, and analyses. 2067 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
Contact Tel: 617-547-0430
FOSS Project E-mail: harold_mcwilliams@terc.edu
Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California Web sites: http://CESSE.terc.edu
Berkeley, CA 94720 http://globallab.terc.edu
18
19.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Results High Schools that Work (HSTW)
Number High Schools that Work (HSTW) is a whole-school,
Type of measure of results Results Effect size research- and assessment-based reform that offers a frame-
Self-designed 1 Students with low levels No effect work of goals and key practices for improving the acade-
tests of prior knowledge beneﬁt size reported mic, technical, and intellectual achievement of high school
more from GLC than those students. HSTW blends traditional college-preparatory
with medium or high levels content with quality technical and vocational studies.
of prior knowledge. HSTW provides technical assistance and staff develop-
ment focused on techniques and strategies such as team-
work, applied learning, and project-based instruction. The
HSTW assessment is based on the National Assessment of
Great Explorations in Mathematics Educational Progress (NAEP). The developer does not
and Science (GEMS) offer speciﬁc subject area programs, but consultants pro-
Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) is a vide workshops customized to ﬁt an individual school’s
supplemental enrichment program for students from needs.
preschool through eighth grade. GEMS provides teachers
with more than 70 teacher’s guides, support documents, Contact
and pedagogical handbooks; professional development Gene Bottoms, Senior Vice President
opportunities; an active web site; and a national support net- Southern Regional Education Board
work of GEMS leaders and associates and over 45 regional 592 10th St., NW
sites. GEMS uses generally accessible materials that inte- Atlanta, GA 30318
grate science and mathematics. The program’s units, pre- Tel: 404-875-9211, ext. 249
sented as ﬂexible enhancements or in curriculum sequence, E-mail: gene.bottoms@sreb.org
are designed to help all teachers reach all students and fea- Web site: http://www.sreb.org/programs/hstw/hstwindex.asp
ture clear, step-by-step teacher instructions. In addition to
the speciﬁc standards-based learning goals and content, the Results
program emphasizes cooperative learning and problem- Two studies were conducted using the same measure.
solving, literature and language arts connections, and real
world relevance. GEMS units feature an inquiry-based,
Number
guided-discovery, student-centered approach to learning. Type of measure of results Results Effect size
An assessment component is in place for the entire series.
HSTW 1 Gains in achievement No effect
Contact assessment increase with the number size reported
Jacqueline Barber of students in a school
Lawrence Hall of Science #5200 completing the HSTW
University of California, Berkeley
curriculum.
1 Centennial Drive, Berkeley, CA 94720-5200
Tel: 510-642-7771 HSTW 1 Over time, more students No effect
Fax: 510-643-0309 assessment met achievement goals size reported
Contact e-mail: jbarber@uclink4.berkeley.edu and completed program.
Program e-mail: gems@berkeley.edu
Web site: http://www.lhs.berkeley.edu/GEMS/
Results
Several studies of the GEMS units, which serve grades Integrated Mathematics, Science,
K–8, have been produced. Only one of these met our crite- and Technology Curriculum (IMaST)
ria and focused on the fourth through eighth grade astron-
Integrated Mathematics, Science, and Technology Cur-
omy unit Earth, Moon, and Stars.
riculum (IMaST) was developed by the Center for Math-
Number ematics, Science, and Technology at Illinois State University.
Type of measure of results Results Effect size IMaST is a standards-based, integrated curriculum for
Content-speciﬁc, 3 Students receiving GEMS No effect grades 6–8. IMaST integrates technology, science, and math-
skills-driven test instruction had signiﬁ- size reported ematics and includes connections to the language arts and
cantly higher pre–post social sciences, as well as readings that proﬁle typical
gains than control groups careers related to the curriculum content. The curriculum is
without GEMS instruction. based on the constructivist learning theory that allows con-
cept development to take place in a structured venue.
19
20.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Contact 17 Colt Court
Ronkonkoma, NY 11779
Dr. Karen Lind, Director
Tel: 800-381-8003
Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Fax: 631-737-1286
Illinois State University
E-mail: customerservice@lab-aids.com
Campus Box 5960
Normal, IL 61790-5960
Tel: 309-438-3089 Results
Fax: 309-438-3592
An assessment of the pilot implementation of IEY was con-
E-mail: cemast@ilstu.edu
ducted as an experimental study using pre- and post-tests
Web site: http://www.ilstu.edu/depts/cemast/programs/
of student knowledge for two groups: one taught using
imast.shtml
IEY and another using the traditional science curriculum.
The study spanned 15 multi-school sites in 12 states, cov-
Results ering 26 classrooms and a total of 830 students. Student
achievement was measured by the assessments from the
Number
Type of measure of results Results Effect size IEY program, which consisted of multiple choice and short
answer items.
TIMMS sub-test 1 IMaST students outper- No effect
form traditional peers, size reported
especially regarding Number
science processes. Type of measure of results Results Effect size
Curriculum-driven, 1 IEY students experienced Moderate
skill-speciﬁc tests an increase in ability to
present an evidence-based
Issues, Evidence, and You (IEY)/SEPUP line of reasoning, while
comparison classes did
The University of California–Berkeley Lawrence Hall of
not experience signiﬁcant
Science developed the SEPUP IEY curriculum for middle improvement in this skill.
school and junior high use with support from the
National Science Foundation. Issues, Evidence, and You
(IEY) focuses on environmental issues in a social context.
The program builds upon earlier SEPUP modules and is
designed to address students’ increasing ability to think Learning by Design (LBD)
abstractly and builds upon students’ need for peer inter-
action and support. The developer intended the curricu- Developed by Georgia Tech’s EduTech Institute, Learning
lum to serve as the physical science component of an by Design (LBD) is an approach to science learning in
integrated science program (physical, life, and earth sci- which middle school students learn as a result of collab-
ence) or as a year-long physical science program. The oratively engaging in design activities and reﬂecting
course consists of 65 activities or investigations presented appropriately on their experiences. Scaffolding is a key
in a conceptual sequence. The instructional times of the component of LBD; interventions combine teacher facili-
activities vary from one to three class periods. The cur- tation, paper-and-pencil design diaries and other paper
riculum can accompany Science and Life Issues (SALI), prompts, and software tools and prompts. LBD has units
another SEPUP program now in the piloting phase. The in both physical and earth science.
program also integrates student assessment into the
curriculum, providing teachers with a basis for under-
Contact
standing gaps in student knowledge of core scientific
concepts and a plan for addressing such gaps as they are The EduTech Institute
identified. Georgia Institute of Technology
801 Atlantic Drive
Contact Atlanta, Georgia, 30332-0280
Web site: http://www.sepup.com/index.htm Tel: 404-894-3807
Publisher: Web site: http://www.cc.gatech.edu/edutech/projects/
LAB-AIDS lbdview.html
20
21.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Results Results
Number Four evaluations of the impact of Modeling Instruction on
Type of measure of results Results Effect size student achievement were found.
Self-designed 1 LBD gains in content learn- No effect
Number
test incorporat- ing higher than comparison size reported Type of measure of results Results Effect size
ing some students. Typical LBD stu-
standardized test dents do as well or better Tests of alternate 2 Average pre–post test gains No effect
items (NAEP, than honors-level non-LBD methods of phys- in Modeling Instruction size
TIMSS) students. ics instruction classrooms were double reported
(Comparison of average those in traditional class-
Performance 2 Typical LBD students score No effect classroom scores be-
tween teachers using rooms, and 10 percentage
assessments higher than typical com- size reported Modeling Instruction, points higher than those in
panion group students in traditional methods, and
reform methods) reform-method classrooms.
applying collaborative
science skills and prac- Tests of alternate 2 Post-test scores after a No effect
tices. Typical LBD student’s methods of phys- teacher is trained in Modeling size
performance was on par ics instruction Instruction were between 6 reported
with non-LBD honors stu- (Comparison of average and 10 percentage points
classroom scores
dents, and LBD honors stu- between teachers pre– higher than their classroom
dents outperformed non- Modeling Instruction averages before training.
training and the same
LBD honors students. teachers post-training)
Data from three studies show that male students con-
sistently outperform female students.
Modeling Instruction in High School Physics
Modeling Instruction in High School Physics is grounded
in the thesis that scientiﬁc activity centers on modeling: the
National Science Curriculum
construction, validation, and application of conceptual
models to understand and organize the physical world. for High Ability Learners
The program uses computer models and modeling to The National Science Curriculum for High Ability
develop the content and pedagogical knowledge of high Learners Project is a supplemental program that has been
school physics teachers and train them to be leaders in implemented across grades 2–8 with a broad group of stu-
science teaching reform and technology infusion. The pro- dents within the average-to-gifted range of ability. The
gram relies heavily on professional development work- curriculum units employ problem-based learning for
shops to equip teachers with a teaching methodology. engaging students in the study of the concept of systems,
Teachers are trained to develop student abilities to make speciﬁc science content, and the scientiﬁc research process.
sense of physical experience, understand scientiﬁc claims, Students engage in a scientiﬁc research process that leads
articulate coherent opinions of their own, and evaluate evi- them to create their own experiments and design their
dence in support of justiﬁed belief. For example, students own solutions to each unit’s central problem. The units
analyze systems using graphical models, mathematical encourage in-depth study, and content areas cover a
models, and pictorial diagrams called system schema. breadth of scientiﬁc subject matter drawn from the physi-
cal, life, and earth sciences. Each unit constitutes approxi-
Contact mately 30 hours of instruction, with students typically
David Hestenes receiving two units within an academic year. Major com-
Director, Modeling Instruction Program ponents of the program include a curriculum framework
Department of Physics and Astronomy that contains goals and learning outcomes linked to indi-
Arizona State University vidual lesson plans; embedded and post assessments that
P.O. Box 871504 focus on science content, concept, and process learning;
Tempe, AZ 85287-1504 25 lesson plans that address these goals and outcomes
Tel: (480) 965-6277 with relatively equal emphasis on each of the goals; and a
E-mail: Hestenes@asu.edu real world problem that serves as the catalyst for subse-
Web Site: http://modeling.la.asu.edu/modeling-HS.html quent learning in the unit.
21
22.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Contact University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0150
Joyce VanTassel-Baska
Tel: 319- 273-2380
Center for Gifted Education
Fax: 319-273-7136
College of William and Mary
E-mail: roy.unruh@uni.edu
427 Scotland St.
Web Site: http://www.prisms.uni.edu/
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Tel: 757-221-2362
Fax: 757-221-2184 Results
E-mail: jlvant@wm.edu
Web Site: http://cfge.wm.edu Number
Type of measure of results Results Effect size
Results State 2 PRISMS students have No effect
assessment higher achievement gains size reported
Number Effect than comparison students.
Type of measure of results Results size Program- 1 PRISMS students’ gains in No effect
Open-ended 1 Students in National Science High designed reasoning and problem- size reported
assessment to Curriculum (NSC) classrooms measures solving skills were greater
test gifted scored better on one unit than those of comparison
science students tested when compared to stu- students.
dents in non-NSC classrooms.
Open-ended 4 Same as above High
assessment to Science 2000/Science 2000+
test gifted
Science 2000+ (previously known as Science 2000) is a mul-
science students
timedia, multiyear science curriculum for high schools that
takes an integrated, thematic approach to the earth, life,
and physical sciences. At each grade level, the yearlong
course includes four nine-week units, connected by central
Physics Resources and Instructional Strategies themes and a storyline—a narrative that sets a real-world
for Motivating Students (PRISMS) context for the science content. Each unit poses problems
related to real-life scientiﬁc and social issues. Students
The goal of Physics Resources and Instructional Strategies
address these problems by drawing information from CD-
for Motivating Students (PRISMS) is to provide learning
ROM-based resources (text, images, video, simulations)
activities to promote understanding of physics principles
supplemented by laser disc, web references, and manipu-
in the context of experiences relating to the daily lives of
lative kits. Multimedia resources (text, images, and video)
secondary school students. PRISMS includes a guide with
are cross-referenced and linked within the CD.
over 130 activities in the form of student instructions and
teacher notes with background information on the activi-
Contact
ties. The program’s resources include several videotapes
from which students make observations and take data, Ellen M. Nelson
and recommended software and interfacing for schools Decision Development Corp.
that have access to microcomputers. A complete student 2303 Camino Ramon, Suite 220
evaluation and testing program is included in a three- San Ramon, CA 94583-1389
to four-diskette set. The instructional strategies blend Tel: 800-835-4332 or 925-830-8896
exploratory activities, concept development, and applica- Fax: 925-830-0830
tion activities to stimulate problem-solving skills and the E-mail: info@ddc2000.com
understanding of major physics concepts. The guide can Web site: http://www.ddc2000.com
be integrated with the use of any physics textbook and is
designed to be individualized to meet the needs of each Results
teacher. The guide also contains activities dealing with sci-
Number
entiﬁc, technological, and social issues as well as career
Type of measure of results Results Effect size
information. The new version is called PRISMS PLUS.
Self-designed 1 All Science 2000 students No effect
Contact test instruments showed gains in content size reported
Roy D. Unruh, Director knowledge from pre- to
post-test.
Physics Department, Room 303
22
23.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
Study showed the curriculum to be effective in strated signiﬁcantly higher performance than control
increasing the content knowledge of all students, regard- groups and national/international comparison groups.
less of gender, ethnicity, or language classiﬁcation. The quasi-experimental evaluation design, however,
makes it difﬁcult to control for prior knowledge or instruc-
tion of students in comparison groups.
Science and Technology Concepts
for Middle Schools (STC/MS)
The Science Curriculum
Science and Technology Concepts for Middle Schools Improvement Study (SCIS)
(STC/MS) is a modular program composed of 24 units.
The Science Curriculum Improvement Study (SCIS)
There are four units for each grade level, one each in the
was developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the
following strands: life science, earth science, physical
University of California between 1962 and 1974 for use in
science, and technology. Each STC unit generally has
grades K–6. The goal of the program is the development of
16 lessons with hands-on investigations. Teachers can use
scientiﬁc literacy, deﬁned as a combination of basic knowl-
the four modules to comprise the science curriculum for
edge concerning the natural environment, investigating abil-
the entire school year or use one or two individual units as
ity, and curiosity. The program consists of 12 units, one life
supplements to other curriculum pieces. Eight modules for
and one physical science unit at each elementary grade level.
grades 7 and 8 are currently under development. When
About 10 major concepts are developed each year. The con-
completed, STC/MS will include eight units for science in
cepts are interrelated and are intended to provide a concep-
grades 7 and 8. The instructional units will be balanced
tual framework for the child’s thinking. Opportunities are
among life, earth, physical sciences, and technological
provided for developing science processes as well. The gen-
design. The components are designed to be offered as two
eral instructional pattern is free exploration of new materials,
one-year courses (one unit from each of the scientiﬁc
the introduction of a new concept, and the application of the
strands) or as four single semester courses.
new concept in a range of new situations.
Contact Contact
National Science Resources Center Note: Science Curriculum Improvement Study (SCIS) is now called
Arts and Industries Building, Room 1201 SCIS 3+
900 Jefferson Drive, SW
Publisher:
Washington, DC 20560-0403
Delta Education
Tel: 202-357-3364
Tel: 800-258-1302
Fax: 202-633-9136
Web Site: http://www.deltaeducation.com/scisgallery.aspx?
Web site: http://www.nsrconline.org/curriculum_resources/
collection=N&menuID=11
middle_school.html
Publisher: Results
Carolina Biological A 1983 meta-analysis of 57 controlled studies of SCIS and
Tel: 800-334-5551 two other activity-based science programs (ESS and SAPA)
Web site: http://www.carolina.com draws conclusions about the programs across process, con-
tent, and affective outcomes. Seventy percent of the stud-
Results ies were dissertations, and a conservative estimate of the
combined students tested is 13,000 in over 900 classrooms.
In a 2001 study of four of the eight STC/MS modules, a
Seventy-nine percent of the studies had a quasi-experi-
post-test only design was used to compare the perfor-
mental design. Forty-eight percent of the studies tested
mance between groups receiving STC/MS instruction and
effects after more than one year of program use.
those who received traditional instruction. The impact of
The overall effect of these three programs on all outcome
the curriculum on student achievement in each particular
areas was positive, though not dramatically so; thirty-two
content area was measured by multiple-choice and short- percent of comparison studies had statistically signiﬁcant
answer tests developed to measure concepts speciﬁc to results favoring the treatment group, while
each unit, including TIMMS and NAEP. When possible, 6 percent favored the nontreatment group. These results sup-
test items were taken from previously existing assessments port an overall conclusion of a positive program effect. The
so that national and international comparisons were possi- mean effect size for all studies, with all outcomes weighted
ble. In all four STC/MS curriculum units, students demon- equally, was .35, or a 14 percentile point improvement over
23
24.
What Do We Know? Seeking Effective Math and Science Instruction
non-activity-based instruction. The effects on measures of Contact
science process, intelligence, and creativity were positive. Daniel C. Edelson
Small positive effects were observed in attitudes towards Northwestern University
science. Contrary to a common worry about activity-based Learning Sciences Program
programs, content achievement was not negatively affected. Annenberg Hall
A second meta-analysis conducted in 1986 largely con- Evanston, Ill 60208-2610
ﬁrmed these results, emphasizing in particular the differ- E-mail: geode@letus.northwestern.edu
ences in attitude toward science and process skills (17 and Web site: http://www.worldwatcher.northwestern.edu/
19 percentile point gains, respectively) among students curriculum.htm
who were taught with activity-based modules.
Results
Number
World Watcher/Learning about the Type of measure of results Results Effect size
Environment Curriculum (LATE) Self-designed 1 Gains at all grade levels Large
test and all populations (urban, (urban),
The World Watcher/Learning about the Environment Cur- suburban). Biggest differ- moderate
riculum (LATE) is a yearlong, inquiry-based, technology- ences in 10th grade. (suburban)
supported environmental science curriculum for high school
developed at Northwestern University. It is based on the Urban students showed higher gains (5 points) than
Learning-for-Use model of learning that conceptualizes con- suburban students (3.5 points). Researchers caution not to
tent and process learning as complementary and mutually interpret this result as greater effectiveness of the curricu-
facilitating, rather than at odds. LATE incorporates the use of lum for the urban group. It is possible that a subgroup of a
scientiﬁc visualizations and is centered on three key issues: sample that scores below average on a test tends to do bet-
population growth and resource availability, electricity gen- ter on retests.
eration and energy demand, and managing water resources The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reﬂect
for agriculture and human consumption. those of the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.
THE URBAN INSTITUTE Nonproﬁt Org.
2100 M Street, NW U.S. Postage
Washington, DC 20037 PAID
Permit No. 8098
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