The MPS Math Selection

The Milwaukee Public Schools administration is currently recommending the adoption of the following books at the elementary level: Math Expressions, Everyday Math, and Scott Foresman. As I report here two of those series–Expressions and Scott Foresman–were included in research  comparing student achievement using four different series.

Expressions did quite well, leading the pack for first graders and coming in second (to Saxon math) for second graders . Scott Foresman, however, consistently placed at the bottom (Investigations also fared poorly).

Click here to download a copy of the full report. Figure 1 shows a comparison of the results of the four programs both for first and second grade.

It is unclear where Everyday Math would fit into the spectrum of effectiveness since it was not one of the four programs in the experiment. The What Works Clearinghouse does say “Everyday Mathematics® was found to have potentially positive effects on math achievement for elementary students,” but this was based on a comparison with the unspecified “standard” curriculum in a district.

Oddly the WWC has no Intervention Report on Math Expressions.

The MPS PowerPoint introducing its recommendations does not address the question of whether research results were considered. It does, however, describe in some detail the variety of organizations involved in the decision. So it is likely that the decisions about instructional materials was much more influenced by consensus that research considerations.

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