University of Missouri - Columbia.
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Posted 12.07.05

MU Math Education Experts to Evaluate Curriculum Proposals for US High Schools

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Research continues to show that U.S. high school students struggle in the area of mathematics and are falling further behind their international peers. Now, with the help of a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, a project developed by the University of Missouri-Columbia's College of Education is examining which mathematics curricula are best suited for students and whether curricula affects students' attitudes toward mathematics.

"The goal will be to examine student progress over a number of years in the areas of skills, concepts, problem solving and mathematical reasoning, culminating in a student learning profile for each curriculum type we study," said Douglas Grouws, professor of mathematics education at MU and leader of COSMIC (Comparing Options in Secondary Mathematics: Investigating Curriculum).

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The first year of the four-year project will involve more than 3,000 students from across the U.S. That number eventually will increase to 6,000 students. Grouws and his research team will analyze and compare student learning resulting from two types of high school mathematics curricula over several years. One type will be the familiar sequential content courses (Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra 2, Precalculus) and the other will be the integrated content courses, where algebra, geometry, statistics, etc. concepts are all studied each year.

Grouws' team will measure learning through standardized achievement tests and special project-developed tests to measure critical learning skills. In addition to discovering curricula that are most advantageous to students, they also plan to identify which curriculum is preferred by teachers and which is easier to teach.

For additional information on COSMIC, please visit



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