Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Mathematics Curriculum Study Is Now Available

The report, Algebra I and Geometry Curricula: Results From the 2005 High School Transcript Mathematics Curriculum Study, builds upon the results from NAEP’s previously released High School Transcript Study and looked at the math coursetaking patterns of America’s high school graduates to examine the content and challenge of Algebra I and Geometry courses in our nation’s public high schools.

The report addresses three broad research questions:

1. What differences exist in Algebra I and Geometry course curricula?

2. How accurately do school course titles and descriptions reflect the rigor of what is taught in Algebra I and Geometry?

3. How do Algebra I and Geometry curricula relate to math coursetaking patterns and NAEP performance?

The Mathematics Curriculum Study explores the relationship between student coursetaking and achievement by examining the content and challenge of two mathematics courses taught in the nation’s public high schools—algebra I and geometry. Conducted in conjunction with the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) High School Transcript Study (HSTS), the study uses textbooks as an indirect measure of what was taught in classrooms, but not how it was taught (i.e., classroom instruction). The study uses curriculum topics to describe the content of the mathematics courses and course levels to denote the content and complexity of the courses. The results are based on analyses of the curriculum topics and course levels developed from the textbook information, coursetaking data from the 2005 NAEP HSTS, and performance data from the twelfth-grade 2005 NAEP mathematics assessment.

Highlights of the study findings:

- about 65 percent of the material covered in high school graduates’ algebra I was devoted to algebra topics,
- about 66 percent of the material covered in graduates’ geometry courses focused on geometry topics.
- School course titles often overstated course content and challenge.
- Approximately 73 percent of graduates in “honors” algebra I classes received a curriculum ranked as an intermediate algebra I course -62 percent of graduates who took a geometry course labeled “honors” by their school received a curriculum ranked as intermediate geometry.
- Graduates who took rigorous algebra I and geometry courses scored higher on NAEP than graduates who took beginner or intermediate courses.

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