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Research & Success


The success of Core-Plus Mathematics is more than anecdotal. For the last 20 years, field-test evaluations and independent research have demonstrated the dynamic ways that Core-Plus Mathematics is an invaluable educational resource. Through a collaborative effort blending the expertise and insights of mathematicians and statisticians, evaluation specialists, classroom teachers, and the curriculum developers, the Core-Plus Mathematics materials were designed and developed with the intent to support problem-based, inquiry-oriented, student-centered classroom activity informed by theory and research on teaching and learning.This has enabled the Project to produce an innovative, coherent, and effective approach to the mathematical education of high school students that ensures college and career-readiness.

An Instructional Foundation Backed by Research

Since the first edition, Core-Plus Mathematics has delivered a student-centered, inquiry-oriented approach to math instruction. Hear Beth Ritsema, Author and Professional Development Coordinator Core-Plus Mathematics, talk about why the program’s unique instructional foundation works.

Field Testing

The CCSS Edition of Core-Plus Mathematics builds on the strengths of the previous editions, which were shaped by multi-year field tests in 49 schools in 13 states. Each text is the product of a three-year cycle of research and development, pilot testing and refinement, and field testing and further refinement prior to publication.

Efficacy Research

The studies at the right, together with additional efficacy studies listed in the annotated Core-Plus Mathematics Project Research Bibliography, have focused on published editions of Core-Plus Mathematics and its effectiveness when implemented in a broad and diverse array of school settings. These significant comparative studies and the qualitative evaluations listed below have been reported in the most prestigious U.S. and international journals, including the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education and Educational Studies in Mathematics. Unique among curriculum development efforts in the U.S. is the five-year longitudinal study reporting the effectiveness of Core-Plus Mathematics on numerous different measures. Its significance warranted publication as a volume in the IAP Research in Mathematics Education Series.

Qualitative Evaluations

Complementing the efficacy research studies of the Core-Plus Mathematics program is a set of qualitative studies focused on content analyses of the program and on the professional development and instructional practices of teachers using the program.

School-Based Reports

Evaluation reports prepared by teachers at schools using the Core-Plus Mathematics program provide valuable information to the development team in terms of the effectiveness of the curriculum and areas that may profit from continued refinement in future editions. These school-based reports highlight some of the additional affordances of using Core-Plus Mathematics and often provide important trend data and information on special outcomes that were of special interest to the district.

Research Summary

Overall, the continuing pattern of research findings indicates that Core-Plus Mathematics students perform significantly better on measures of conceptual understanding, mathematical thinking and reasoning, and applied problem solving, and perform as well or better on the SAT and ACT Mathematics tests than comparable students completing more conventional programs. Additionally, Core-Plus Mathematics students have elected to enroll more frequently in advanced mathematics courses and have more positive attitudes and perceptions of mathematics and its usefulness.