A Longitudinal/Cross-Sectional Study of the Impact of Mathematics in Context on Student Mathematical Performance

Researchers are gathering data on the impact of Mathematics in Context: A Connected Curriculum for Grades 5-8 (MiC) on students' mathematical performance.  Two general questions about the use of MiC are being answered: What is the impact of the MiC instructional approach on student mathematical performance? and How is this impact different from that of traditional instruction on student performance?  The research team is studying the use of MiC in two major sites in Delaware and Florida. Each site includes seven participating schools representing 39 teachers and 2,600 students.  The team seeks to determine the mathematical knowledge and understanding, attitudes, and levels of performance of students who study a set of units in each of four content strands in the MiC curriculum over one-, two-, and three-year periods.  Researchers are also comparing the knowledge and understanding, attitudes, and performance of students who have used MiC with that of students who have been studying middle school mathematics in traditional programs. The team seeks to identify key elements of the school environment, teacher conceptions about mathematics teaching and learning, classroom interaction, and the assessment of student attitudes toward mathematics and their knowledge and application of mathematics.  A cross sectional report is to be completed by the end of Year 1. This and other reports will inform mathematics educators, policymakers, parents, and curriculum developers about the implementation of MiC in middle school classrooms in particular, and about reform efforts in mathematics education in general.