Saturday, August 5, 2017

Making Sense of Math Curriculum Alphabet Soup

People throw around a lot of acronyms to describe math curricula: CME, CPM, IMP, CMP, IM, OUR, MVP, etc. So many of these strings of letters are very similar (M seems natural, we're all talking about math, not sure how C got so popular!) and easy to mix up. CPM and CMP are pretty darned easy to reverse, though are completely separate projects with different philosophies and goals.

I'm sure some of these curricula were worked on by similar folks and/or led one to another. As a free market, it's likely that most of them came about because someone (or some organization or company or non profit and foundation) saw a need for something that was not available.

How are these different schema the same and how are they different? How can I know enough about what each one is so that when I hear folks talking about them in the MTBoS or other circles, I can contribute insightful perspectives, or at least know what they're talking about? How can I know which are useful to draw on when I'm trying to plan a lesson or a unit?

I could get into the depths of what makes something a curriculum, and that's not really where my inquiry is leading me. Mostly, I want to know what each of these projects is known for, perhaps who created them, what their strengths and weaknesses are, the timeline of when they came into the scene, etc. I'm sure there are others that I'm missing, and I welcome your suggestions for how to improve this list! I'm mostly looking for the ones doing innovative things that are in the general lexicon of hip math teachers.

Core Plus: wordy; integrated; problem based; weak on skill development and practice; a bit dated

IMP (Interactive Mathematics Program): organized around problems rather than mathematical topics; somewhat weak on skill development; originally developed in 90's; 9-12?

CPM (College Preparatory Math): 6-12; thoughtful spiraling of content; more skill/less big problem; called Core Connections in MS?

CMP (Connected Math Project): 6-8, maybe K-5?; small books on each topic; funded by NSF at Michigan State; published by Pearson; somewhat weak on skill development; originally developed in the 90's

CME (Center for Math Education): 9-12, Bowen worked on; related to NSF, Pearson published; super thoughtful problem sets

Illustrative Mathematics: more a collection of cool problems than a curriculum; People from there are now working with the OER Consortium to create curriculum for 6-8, and then 9-12 after that

OER Consortium
OUR (Open Up Resources): level field; free curriculum; 6-8 for now probably 9-12 later; totally free; Kate Nowak, Ashli Black

MVP: Mathematics Vision Project (David Wees?)

Impact Math: 6-8; more investigative than traditional curricula; decent balance of inquiry and practice; somewhat dated

EngageNY/Eureka: K-8; solid conceptual development

Is there anything listed above that does not match your experience or that you could elaborate more on?
Are there other curriculums for 6-8 or 9-12 that I should be including above?
Does CMP have K-5, or just 6-8?
Is Shell Centre a curriculum?
Is IMP only HS?
What grades does MVP cover? Who uses it?

What's a 4x4 schedule? 

1 comment:

  1. Pretty sure David Wees is involved in New Visions, not MVP. New Visions is all free and open, like EngageNY, though I definitely personally like what they have better than what I've seen of EngageNY/Eureka .

    I believe CMP is 6-8. Pearson's investigation-focused elementary curriculum is called Investigations. I think Investigations -> CMP -> CME would be the all-Pearson pathway for schools that prefer a progressive/inquiry-based curriculum. CMP and CME were both NSF projects, but with different teams.

    I think the Shell Centre is more like Illustrative Math before they got into curriculum-writing. Or Nrich ( ). A source of good tasks, well-organized but not a full curriculum with all of the internal support materials, etc.

    I'm not sure "skills-focused" is a description I would use for CPM. It is probably more skills-focused than, say, IMP, but about on the same level as CME or CMP.

    To me what makes CPM particularly compelling and what made me interested in working with them is (a) they were started by and are still run almost entirely by classroom teachers or former classroom teachers, (b) they are a nonprofit and are not distributed by large publishers and (c) the curriculum comes with a pedagogical style - small-group work with many different team strategies - baked in, without which it doesn't work very well. They provide free (and in my experience totally excellent) PD with any curriculum purchase to support teachers. Honestly, it's a model not dissimilar to that used by Open Up Resources - Open Up makes the digital version of the student resources free, but charges (a totally reasonable amount!) for PD and teacher materials. CPM makes the student textbooks affordable ($10/kid/year for eBooks, $50-$80 for paperback or hardcover print editions) and includes PD with that purchase.