Project 2061
Algebra Textbooks
A Standards-Based Evaluation

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Background Information

TITLE Contemporary Mathematics in Context (CORE-Plus)
Authors: Core-Plus Mathematics Project (CPMP): Director-Christian R. Hirsch; Co-Directors-Arthur F. Coxford, James T. Fey, and Harold L. Schoen; Gail Burrill; Eric W. Hart; Ann E. Watkins; Mary Jo Messenger; Beth Ritsema.
Publisher: Everyday Learning Corporation
Edition: 1998
Subject Area: Integrated Mathematics
Grade Level/Format: This integrated series is designed for grades 9-12. It is a four-year curriculum that includes Courses 1-4. (Course 4, which prepares students for college mathematics was in development at the time of the analysis.) Each course consists of two parts (A and B) and a Capstone, a two-week project-oriented activity relevant to the complete course. Each course has seven units, with each unit consisting of three to five investigations.
Time Frame: Units take from four to six weeks to complete.
Main Topics:
  • Algebra and Functions
  • Geometry and Trigonometry
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Discrete Mathematics

In-class lessons are organized in a four-phase cycle. Students engage in (1) Launch (Think About This Situation) - a whole-class discussion establishing a context for the lesson; (2) Explore - a small group investigation of more focused real-world problems; (3) Share and Summarize (Checkpoint) - a whole-class discussion enabling groups to summarize results of investigations and construct a shared understanding of important concepts, methods, and approaches; and (4) Apply (On Your Own) - a task to be completed individually to reinforce understandings gained in the lesson. This cycle is designed to actively engage students in investigating problem situations, constructing important mathematical concepts and methods, and communicating their thinking and the results of their efforts. Lessons also include MORE (Modeling-Organizing-Reflecting-Extending), a collection of out-of-class activities. The final lesson of each unit is called Looking Back. This lesson provides students with the opportunity to synthesize the ideas of the unit. Each course, or level, ends with a Capstone, a thematic, two-week, project-oriented activity that enables students to apply the important modeling concepts developed in the course.

Assessment: Assessments include Checkpoint (assessing the levels of understanding various groups of students have reached), and On Your Own and MORE (assessing the levels of understanding of each individual student). Some assessments are generated by students in the form of student journals and portfolios. The teacher's Assessment Resource books contain end-of-lesson quizzes, in-class exams, take-home assessments, projects and assessment tasks for a midterm, and a final exam for each unit.
Cost: Student edition: $21.00 per part
  Teacher's edition: $36.00 per part
  Teacher's resource package (includes teacher's guide) $170.00 per course
CREDIBILITY Following are references for Contemporary Mathematics in Context (CORE-Plus). Please check the web site for further information about additional evaluations and reviews.
Empirical Evaluation:

(1) Core-Plus Mathematics Project. (1998). Student achievement reports volume I: Contemporary Mathematics in Context. Chicago: Everyday Learning.

(2) Huntley, M. A., Rasmussen, C. L., Villarubi, R. S., Sangtong, J., & Fey, J. T. (2000). Effects of standards-based mathematics education: A study of the Core-Plus Mathematics Project algebra/functions strand. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. Vol. 31, No. 3.

(3) Schoen, H. L., Hirsch, C. R., & Ziebarth, S. W. (1998). An emerging profile of the mathematical achievement of students in the Core-Plus Mathematics Project. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.

(4) Schoen, H. L. & Ziebarth, S. W. (1997). A progress report on student achievement in the Core-Plus Mathematics Project field test. NCSM Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership, 1(3), 15-23.

(5) Schoen, H. L., & Ziebarth, S. W. (1998). Assessment of students' mathematical performance: A Core-Plus Mathematics Project field test progress report. Unpublished manuscript, University of Iowa.

NCTM Standards Analysis: American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2000). Algebra textbooks: A standards-based evaluation. Washington, D.C.: Author.
Reviews: U.S. Department of Education. (1999). Exemplary and promising mathematics programs. Washington, DC: Author.


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