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I'm looking for a "tool" by which one may analyze...

Reply 1:

One of your tools is now posted as project 2061's criteria. Though they focused on some specific ideas, this may be extendable. Also, NSF had used criteria to evaluate curriculum materials (I believe this was for grades 6-8). That is availablke from their web site. A third source is by OERI who specify an list of look fors in a curriculum. kalyani


Kalyani Raghavan, 5/19/2000

Reply 2:

In working with schools adopting a new mathematics program, some of the high school NSF projects have put together a document containing questions for districts to ask as they study the curricula. Using questions seems to encourage people to look more deeply into the materials and prompt thinking that might not have otherwise occurred. The document is pasted below and followed by other ideas. Possible Questions to Ask When Reviewing Mathematics Curricula for All Students Mathematics Reform: 1. What does research tell us about teaching and learning mathematics? 2. What mathematics should all high school students know? Program Organization and Structure: 1. How does this curriculum reflect the NCTM Standards? 2. Is it intended to be a core curriculum for all high school students? 3. Is there a coherence to the curriculum or is it a series of isolated topics? Content: 1. Are all the strands of mathematics (algebra, geometry, functions, trigonometry, statistics, probability, discrete mathematics) represented in each year of the curriculum? 2. How is the mathematics in each of the strands developed and deepened within a unit, across the units, and over the years? 3. How are the various strands connected and interrelated to each other? 4. How are concepts, skills, and problem solving balanced within the development of the mathematical ideas? Instruction: 1. What is the balance between cooperative learning, direct instruction, inquiry-based learning, investigations, etc. 2. Are there indicators that the classroom environment is primarily a student-centered classroom? Learning: 1. Are students asked to think and communicate, to draw on mathematical ideas, and to use mathematical tools and techniques? 2. Are questions open-ended? Do they encourage multiple approaches? 3. Do some tasks require time and deliberation which is continued over several days or weeks? 4. Are students asked to formulate mathematical questions and assess what is known and what must be determined? 5. Are students asked to interact with one another and often work in small heterogeneous groups? Are they expected to share approaches, conjectures, difficulties, results, and evidence with their group and with other groups? 6. Are students asked to make conjectures and test generalizations as they become apparent and make connections among the mathematical ideas within a lesson or among lessons? 7. Do students have access to a graphing calculator at all times for use in class? 8. Are students consistently asked to communicate their findings orally and in writing? Assessment: 1. Is assessment integrated in the instructional program? 2. Are students encouraged to use tools, such as graphing calculators and manipulatives while carrying out assessment tasks? 3. Are the assessment tasks varied; short response, performance-based, self-assessment, take-home, long term problems or projects, etc.? 4. Are assessment tasks embedded and ongoing and do they reflect the knowledge of the students? Student Diversity: 1. How does the curriculum address a classroom of students with diverse mathematical backgrounds? Are there problems and exercises for students who need reinforcement? Are there problems and exercises for students who would like to explore a concept in greater depth? 2. Does the curriculum account for different learning styles? 3. Are contexts such that all students can see themselves in the mathematics? 4. Are the tasks and problems students work on accessible to all students? Are they rich and open and can be investigated at many different levels? In addition EDC has a book "Choosing a Standards Based Curriculum" which might be helpful. 1-800-793-2154 Another approach is to ask districts to set goals for their mathematics program and then discuss the criteria used by the US Department of Education's Expert Panel before looking at specific books.


Laura Van Zoest, 5/23/2000

Reply 3:

See "Mathematics textbooks - A bench-based evaluation" A Report of AAAS Project 2061 evaluating texts and NSF projeacts across a wide variety of criteria (Just published in 2000, includes a CD_ROM as well) including the ones you are interested in. Should be very useful. AAAS has also completed a similar evaluation of Algebra texts and NSF Projects' algebra components. Don't know where that is published. Good Luck! Tom Post University of Minnesota


Thomas Robert Post, 5/26/2000