

Mathematics  Specific Math Programs
What Is Your Child's Math Program?
Go get your child's math textbook, and get the exact publisher title.
If your child's math program doesn't use textbooks (first clue!) go get some of the worksheets or other materials
your child has dragged home; publisher's copyright identifiers are often in tiny type along the edges.
Go ahead, go get it!
OK, do you have that information now?
Now that you know what your child is being given, check it out in this section.
Here are articles that are written by local
Illinois Loop participants, or that concern fuzzy math programs
that are in heavy use in Illinois:
The symbol denotes a link to the publisher's website.
Comparisons of Math Programs

Evaluations of Math Programs  Educational Research Analysts:
Click the link for detailed reviews of each program and extensive comparisons.
Here are the bottomline ratings that ERA gives to each program for the two grade levels it evaluated:
Program  3rd Grade (Draft)  6th Grade 
Connected Math   Worst 
enVision Math  Better  
Everyday Mathematics  Worst  Very Poor 
Glencoe Math   Poor 
Harcourt HSP Math  Fair  
Harcourt Think Math  Fair  
Holt Math   Fair 
Houghton Mifflin Math  Fair  
Macmillan Mathematics  Poor  
McDougal Math   Good 
Prentice Math   Fair 
SRA Real Math  Better  
Saxon Math (ORIGINAL)  Better  Best 
UCSMP "Everyday Mathematics" (a.k.a. "Chicago Math")
Popularly known as "Chicago math" and published by Wright Group/McGrawHill, this program is one of the most pervasive of the
original fuzzy, constructivist math programs.
It was developed starting in 1985 by a group called the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP).
It is legendary for its problems without solutions, incredibly frustrating "games," shallow interest in effective algorithms,
heavy use of the demoralizing practice of spiraling
and oddball methods such as "lattice multiplication."

Everyday Math: Coming to a School Near You!
by Barry Garelick, Kitchen Table Math, July 27, 2008.
Excerpt:
"In the EM promo ... it looks like they've picked up on the
criticisms of EM and are now using it in their advertising. To wit:
'There's nothing fuzzy about it.'
Excuse me? Nothing fuzzy aboout it? Well, maybe not as fuzzy as TERC,
but still... Yes, a casual reading might reveal what look like good
problems, but you wouldn't know from looking at the workbook that
they don't teach the standard algorithms, that a particular page of
problems may represent the last time such types of problems are seen
that year, that there are far less computational problems in EM than
in the highly disdained 'traditional' textbooks, and the
computational problems that are there do not cover a lot of 2digit
or 3digit multiplication. Not to mention that calculators are
allowed fairly often."
 Barry Garelick
comments
in Education Week, March 15, 2009,
"The Deparment of Education's What Works Clearinghouse which
evaluates research on the various math programs, reviewed 61 Everyday Math studies. The findings: Of those 61 studies, none met evidence
standards, 4 met evidence standards with reservations and 57 did not meet evidence screens. Of the remaining four, the WWC found Everyday
Mathematics to have potentially positive effects on math achievement based on one study alone: the 2001 Riordan & Noyce study. Just so
everyone is on the same page, Pendred Noyce has a vested interest in Everyday Math in that she has formed associations with several reform
math initiatives, at least one dedicated to implementation of Everyday Math: COMAP, for which she serves on the Board of Directors."
 "Chicago" Math by Mary Damer.
A dissection of "evidence" offered in support of Everyday Math,
a.k.a. "Chicago Math".

Everyday Math: Proof that it works? Hardly
by Mark Montgomery, September 29, 2006.
"Here's what we know about the effectiveness of Everyday Math, based
on the research reviewed by the
What Works Clearinghouse: Sixtysix
studies have been found to focus on the effectiveness of Elementary
School Mathematics programs. ... 61 of the 66 studies cited the
What Works Clearinghouse
focus on Everyday Math, at least in part.
Fiftyseven (57) of them were thrown out because they did not meet
the evidence screen. None fully meets the evidence standards. Four
... meet the standards 'with reservations.' ... let's actually read
what the report has to say about each of the four studies ..."

One Step Ahead of the Train Wreck
by Barry Garelick, Education News, May 15, 2009. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
for teachers and parents looking for a way to teach math to kids before they have to face the insanities of Everyday Math.
The author provides plenty of insight into how Everyday Math fails kids, and gives
very helpful and encouraging advice about addressing some of the schoolbased nonsense through home use
of the extremely effective Singapore [Primary Mathemetics] program.
Excerpt:
"The first math tutoring session with my daughter and her friend Laura had ended. I sat in
the dining room, slumped in my chair. 'You look sick,' my wife said.
'I am,' I said.
My daughter  subjected to the vagaries of Everyday Mathematics, a math program her
school had selected and put in effect when she was in the third grade  was having
difficulty with key concepts and computations. She was now in 6th grade, and with
fractional division, percentages and decimals on the agenda, I wanted to make sure she
mastered these things. I decided to start tutoring her using the [Primary Mathemetics] textbooks used in
Singapore's schools. I was familiar with the books to know they are effective. To make
the prospect more palatable, I suggested tutoring her friend at the same time, since
Laura's mother had mentioned to me that her daughter was also having problems in math.
I figured I would start with the fourth grade unit on fractions which was all about adding
and subtracting fractions, which they had already done, and then move rapidly into fifth
grade, and start on the rudiments of multiplication. 'This'll be easy,' I thought. 'They've
had all this before.'
"We only made it into two pages of text in the fourth grade book. I came to find out that the
concept of equivalent fractions (1/2 = 2/4 = 3/6 and so on) was new to them. This was the
beginning of my attempt to teach my daughter what she needed to know about fractions
while trying to stay one step ahead of the train wreck of Everyday Math."

If Math Were A Color...: A classic
on Everyday Math and other modern fuzzy math programs, written by Elmhurst parent Marcia Tsicouris,
and printed by the Elmhurst Press.
 The folks at District 96 have
unintentionally performed a public service by creating a set of
Quicktime movies to illustrate some of the methods taught in the
notorious Everyday Math program.
Take a look!
In particular, watch with amazement as we see how fourth graders are
taught to do 352 times 241 using the Everyday Math method of
"lattice multiplication".
Then, after pausing for reflection, go on to see how fifth graders
are instructed to figure out how 1876 crayons can be put in boxes of
64 each  not by doing a normal division, but rather by
torturing themselves with something that Everyday Math calls
"PartialQuotients with Double Digits".
It's hard to see how anyone can get out of this class without a lifelong dependency
on calculators.

How NOT to Teach Math
by Matthew Clavel, City Journal, March 7, 2003.
The author describes his experience as a Teach for America volunteer in a Bronx classroom,
forced to use the Everyday Mathematics curriculum against his and his fellow teachers' best judgement.
Clavel takes issue with the program's overemphasis on cooperative learning;
its placement of "critical thinking" skills before basic knowledge;
the haphazard, spiraling, movement between
topics; the sudden jumps to advanced topics for which students have not been prepared;
misguided homework assignments; and an overreliance on calculators.

Put Two and Two Together
By Elizabeth Carson, New York Daily News, October 16, 2006. Excerpts:
"Here's a math problem for you: Count the excuses people are trotting
out for why schoolkids in New York City and State did poorly in the
latest round of math scores. ... If, like me, you're running out of
fingers  and patience  there's a reason. Nobody spinning the test
scores is zeroing in on the single biggest reason math achievement ...
lags and will continue to lag: Our schools
use a fartoofuzzy curriculum that fails to give kids rigorous
instruction in the basics. ...
In New York City, the program required in the vast majority of
schools is called Everyday Mathematics. ... If you ask administrators to explain it, they'll use just
enough jargon to make it sound decent.
"But the truth is, Everyday Math systematically downplays addition,
subtraction, multiplication and division, which everyone knows are
the foundations for all higher math. Instead of learning those basic
four operations like the backs of their hands, students are asked to
choose from an array of alternative methods, such as an ancient
Egyptian method for multiplication. Long division is especially
frowned upon.
There are no textbooks; that would just be too traditional. Instead,
the idea is that kids ought to sit in groups, while a 'facilitator' 
that's the teacher  helps. And, oh, one more thing: Calculators are
introduced in kindergarten.
"Not every single piece of the program is hogwash. But taken in total,
the curriculum is soft enough to let down thousands upon thousands of
our children. That's why it was rejected  twice  in the careful
curriculum analysis process they use in California."

Spiraling Through UCSMP Everyday Mathematics (March 2003), by Bas Braams of New York University.
The program's spiral nature and the concept of distributed practice is illustrated by the fourth grade
coverage of whole number multiplication and division.

Dueling Brochures: Everyday Math vs. Saxon Math (original!)
by Charles E. Breiling, December 24, 2003.
"We'd heard good things about both 'Chicago Math' ... and 'Saxon Math' [original]
so we wrote to both, asking for more information." Wow  read what they discovered!
 In her book Angry Parents, Failing Schools
Elaine McEwan reports on two college professors who examined the research
presented in an Everyday Math brochure and concluded
"the research was seriously flawed. The snazzy packet was 'smoke and mirrors' and
unfortunately a lot of parents and educators were fooled."

Evaluation of Everyday Mathematics
by David Klein, Professor of Mathematics, California State University, Northridge, July 5, 1999
"I was asked by the California State Board of Education to review
materials submitted by Everyday Learning Corporation which are
intended to address shortcomings of its K6 basic adoption
submission, Everyday Mathematics. I was also asked to consider the
program as a whole. ...
My recommendation to the State Board of Education is that the K6 Everyday Mathematics submission be rejected."

The Many Ways of Arithmetic in UCSMP Everyday Mathematics,
by Bas Braams (Feb 2003). Does your child's math look like this?
This article gives an overview of the multiple procedures
for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in Everyday
Mathematics.

A Critical Review of the New Constructivist Math Program
by Tsewei Wang, Ph.D., professor of chemical engineering at UT Knoxville, March 4, 2001. "[Everyday
Mathematics] is very weak and incomplete in its coverage, and it will
not prepare high school students to take college math courses upon
entering college without first taking a heavy dose of remedial math
courses. Implementing it at the lower grade levels will undermine the
students' ability to take traditional college preparatory math
courses when they enter high school."

Review of the Everyday Mathematics Curriculum and its Missing Topics
and Skills, by Tsewei Wang, Ph.D., professor of chemical engineering at UT Knoxville, April 9, 2001. A more detailed review of
the program. The report also criticizes two major longitudinal
studies that have claimed effectiveness of Everyday Mathematics.

Weaknesses of Everyday Mathematics K3, by David Klein, November 2000.
The author finds that Everyday
Mathematics K3 should not be adopted for classroom use. Among the
major shortcomings are: (1) The failure of Everyday Mathematics to
adequately satisfy 12 of the 17 major grade level standards for
grade 3 in his home state of California. (2) The failure to develop the standard algorithms of
arithmetic and to require memorization of basic addition and
multiplication number facts at the grade levels specified in those standards. (3) The excessive and detrimental
use of calculators in each of the grades K, 1, 2, and 3 curricula.
 I'm Failing First Grade
by Elena Beyzarov (a doctor of pharmacy and a parent), May 8, 2007.
"As I came home from work on Friday afternoon, I just had to yell out
to my daughter the one prevailing thought that I had since the minute
I woke up that morning. 'Yeah it's the weekend, NO HOMEWORK!!!!!' To
add to the effect, I even jumped up and down in my heels. ... You
see, my child has been designated by the board of education as one of
many 'subjects' who will be undergoing an experimental treatment
called 'Everyday Math.'"
 Presentation to the D308 school board in Oswego, Illinois, September 10, 2007,
by a group of parents formally asking for the removal of Everyday Math
from their schools.
 Looking at Everyday Mathematics, a collection of teacher reports
from a Pittsburgh Teacher Institute seminar in 2003. NYCHOLD calls our attention to the
following PDF reports from that collection:

Reading Mastery Is New Requisite For Solving Math, by David J.
Hoff (Education Week, Dec 5, 2001). Offers conflicting views on the
amount of reading and writing required in reform mathematics
programs, drawing on the Everyday Mathematics program for examples.
 Conflict of interest?
McGraw Hill, the publisher of Everyday Math, also owns CTB McGraw Hill which publishes the Terra Nova
and other tests used to determine whether teaching has been successful. Several math reformers have
commented on the seeming impropriety of the same company selling both a curriculum
and the test used to determine whether that curriculum is working.

Weighing the Factors  Does [New York]'s Standardized Math Curriculum Measure
Up?, by Amy Sara Clark, YouthMatters, Columbia University
Journalism Program, 2004.
 The Effect of Chicago Math on
Everyday Students, by Karl Dahlke (2004?). An open letter to the
Troy school district, Troy MI.
 Everyday Math = 'Someday'
Problems, by Karen JonesBudd, posted April 25, 2003, on PBSfx: Parents for Better Schools in
Fairfax County, VA. "Some elementary teachers and principals do
not deeply understand the ramification of a math education that is
poor in content and mastery. They love the warm, discoveryoriented
nature of Everyday Math. They also see opportunities for teachers and
children to be 'creative' in a group setting. Little do they know
that some of the children will not be able to pass by the gatekeeper
that is algebra. Or, if these students make it through a less
rigorous algebra, then college math stops them dead in their tracks."
 An Email Exchange
about the Quality of Mathematics Education Research and "Everyday
Mathematics" (March, 2003). This contains comments by David Klein
about mathematics education research in general, with special
reference to a study by Riordan and Noyce concerning Everyday
Mathematics.
 Joel Klein's Math Problems,
by Bas Braams (oped, the New York Sun, Feb 6, 2003). About the
choice of Everyday Mathematics as the standard curriculum for NYC
elementary schools. "Mr. Klein would do well to reverse himself and
listen to the advice about successful curricula that mathematicians
and others have provided to him and his staff."
 To Pittsburgh Public Schools Board
of Education, by Wayne Bishop (April 10, 2002) and To Ms Colaizzi and the Pittsburgh
Public Schools Board of Education, by Wayne Bishop (Mar 12, 2002).
Two letters about reform mathematics programs in the Pittsburgh public
schools. The letters provide a very critical look at some of the
research cited in support of the Everyday Mathematics curriculum in
Pittsburgh.
 My Experience with Everyday
Mathematics, by Karen S. JonesBudd (Feb 12, 2002). A letter to
Superintendent Till of Broward County, FL, describing the author's
experience with the need to supplement her childrens' Everyday Math
education.
 Constructivist Mathematics in
the Oak Ridge Schools, by Tsewei Wang and J. Douglas Birdwell
(updated April 10, 2001). A letter to the public and to local
officials opposing the adoption of Everyday Math in the Oak Ridge, TN,
schools system. The letter summarizes some of the concerns,
nationwide, over the Everyday Mathematics curriculum, and introduces a
critical review by one of the authors.
 A
Review of Everyday Math, by TseWei Wang and J. Douglas Birdwell.
Transparencies for a presentation to the Head of Curriculum, Oak Ridge
Schools, March 26, 2001.
 Concerned
Parents of Reading (MA) to the State Board of Education. A letter
of Feb 13, 2000 from Dr. Bob Mandell on behalf of a group of parents
concerned about the implementation of the "Chicago Math Program"
Everyday Mathematics in their local elementary school. The letter
includes an analysis of declining test scores on Stanford8 and
Stanford9 in the school.
 Concerned
Parents of Reading, MA, Letters. A record of correspondence of
the Concerned
Parents of Reading with their school administration about concerns
over UCSMP's Everyday Mathematics. The page also links to letters to
parents and to the press. We highlight the Letter to the
Editor of June 25, 1997, which expresses the CPR's disappointment
over the lack of cooperation from the district administration.
 Reading
Mastery Is New Requisite For Solving Math, by David J. Hoff
(Education Week, Dec 5, 2001). Offers conflicting views on the amount
of reading and writing required in reform mathematics programs,
drawing on the Everyday Mathematics program for examples.
Lattice Multiplication
 
 "Lattice multiplication" 

NewMath Multiplies
by Linda Schrock Taylor.
"Yes, NewMath is multiplying, but I am sorry to
report that too many children are not learning to
multiply with NewMath. ... Multiplication is not all
that difficult if one learns the multiplication tables
and the logical, precise algorithm for the process. One day I was
teaching traditional multiplication when one of the
special education students wanted to show me the
process she had been taught. Her problem even shocked
me, and luckily I had my camera with me. This
illustration should help the unaware to understand why so many
children in special education, as well as most other
children, are coming to believe that math is an alien
life form. It is no wonder that, when such foolishness
is passed off as an intelligent math procedure, math
scores are dropping like stones, while confusion is rising
to new heights. It is no wonder that our students grow up: seeing
themselves as stupid, hating math, and actually
mathematically incompetent!"
 Posting on an education discussion board:
"Towards the end of 3rd grade ...
I wrote a letter to my son's teacher/principal telling them that
unless they could provide me with compelling evidence that using the
lattice method of multiplication was helpful (yes, Everyday Math),
I expected my son to do all of his multiplication problems using
the standard algorithm so that he would get very good at one method,
rather than notsogood at four methods. Shortly thereafter, he came
home with a math assignment. The class had been given a worksheet
and told to use the lattice method to solve the problems, but Eric's
teacher told him he was supposed to use the standard algorithm. I
asked him what he thought about that. His response? 'Mom, it took
the other kids three times as long to get their work done.' Duh."
 What Is 5536 Divided By 82?:
Compare the standard method versus the "method" used in Everyday Math:
Kendall/Hunt "Math Trailblazers"
Scott Foresman Addison Wesley "MATH"
Note: Because this program just has the simple name "Math", be careful not to confuse this program with
Scott Foresman Addison Wesley "Mathematics" (see next listing) or
Scott Foresman Addison Wesley "enVisionMATH" (see listing after that) or
or any of the other math programs released under the Scott Foresman or Addison Wesley imprint.

A number of schools districts in the suburban Chicago area have purchased the
Scott Foresman Addison Wesley MATH program. As fuzzy math goes, it is
not one of the worst, but it is decidely mediocre.
 Review: Scott Foresman Addison Wesley MATH.
This is our very detailed review of SFAW Math, looking at the
dumbeddown methods, deemphasis of algorithms and unnecessary complexity
of the series' approach to math, as well as its
clutter and visual chaos, political correctness and timewasting sidebars.
 John Sikora wrote this
review of SFAW and two other math programs
(Houghton Mifflin and McGraw Hill). About SFAW, he concluded, "The Scott
ForsemanAddison Wesley text has some ... serious problems. The
presentation was cluttered by all sorts of cartoon characters and
sidebars that would only serve to distract the student."

Also go to the
programs review page at Mathematically Correct,
and search on that page for a keyword such as "Foresman".
Scott Foresman Addison Wesley "Mathematics"
Note: Because this program just has the simple name "Mathematics", be careful not to confuse this program with
Scott Foresman Addison Wesley "Math" (see previous listing) or
Scott Foresman Addison Wesley "enVisionMATH" (see next listing) or
any of the other math programs released under the Scott Foresman or Addison Wesley imprint.

This series apparently replaces the SFAW math series with the name "Math". Confused? We asked SFAW what the differences were, and they told us this:
The program ["Mathematics"] was a new program; not an update of the ["Math" program].
The top ten differences between the programs are listed below. ...
1. Teaching for Understanding (Do you know how & Do you understand)
2. Expanded Research Base and Validation
3. Structured Instruction (step by step modeling)
4. Instant check system tied directly to intervention
5. Online Diagnosis & Intervention
6. 5 Levels to Investigations
7. Leveled problem solving
8. Reading and Writing for Math Lessons
9. Ongoing Professional Development
10. More student support in the student edition
We'll be working to try to find out more about this change.
Scott Foresman Addison Wesley "enVisionMATH"
Note: Be careful not to confuse this program with
other math programs under the Scott Foresman or Addison Wesley imprint.

"enVisionMATH" is a new series from SFAW, described
as "a core elementary math program based on a new researchbased instructional model."
It appears this will be their new "push" product for math.

enVisionMATH scores well in Texas 3rd grade review by
Education Research Analysts:
In a comparison of eight proposed math programs, enVisionMATH scored
in the highest category, along with respected programs
Saxon Math [original] and SRA Real Math.
 One teacher posted (May 2009) these comments on a message board:
"My old school district has it. The first quarter was a disaster for
the kids as the teachers followed the fuzzy portion of it. Then in
the second quarter they dropped the fuzz, kept to the more
traditional part of the program and the kids rebounded ...
My opinion: [EnVisionMath] tries to reconcile the two approaches, reform and non,
which in my opinion are not reconcilable."
TERC: Investigations in Number, Data, and Space
Connected Mathematics Project (CMP)
Note: Be careful not to confuse this program with:


Comprehensive collection of reviews and links concerning
Connected Mathematics Project, from NYC HOLD.
This source includes numerous links, not all included here, on parent and teacher comments about Connected Math,
coverage of many local battles all over the country,
as well as professional critiques of the program and evidence that has been used to support it.

Also go to the
programs review page at Mathematically Correct,
and search on that page for a keyword such as "connected".

An Evaluation of CMP
by R. James Milgram. This is a wonderfully detailed and thorough analysis
of Connected Math, approximately 22 pages in length. If your district is considering CMP,
get this!

A Comprehensive Assessment of CMP (Connected Math Program) Deficiencies Leading to Supplementation
That Meets Key Traditional Educational Needs (MSWord doc), by Donald Wartonick, Cambridge College, Fall 2005.

6th Grade Connected Math by Arthur Hu, Education News, October 2003.
"... 'Connected Mathematics' ... carries on the tradition of nightly homework that is a) hard to figure out,
b) takes forever to do once you figure it out, c) after you're done you haven't learned any useful math,
d) it goes out of the way to make sure the #1 most important method to know is not taught, or allowed.
The whole theme of ed reform seems to be 'work harder and learn less'. ...
How can any of you [on our school board] sit there and say with a straight face that you think this
stands for excellence in education? Why in the world would anybody deliberately design mathematics
that omits the most basic skills and concepts?"

Connected Math, Disconnected Parents: the website of a parents group in Plano, Texas,
that has drawn national attention over their legal battles to eliminate Connected Math and to restore substantive math instruction

Detailed arguments and findings regarding CMP
by Prof. Man Yee Betty Tsang, National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory,
Michigan State University. See that main link for numerous details and reports,
but here are a few of special interest:
 The Government Flunks Math
by David Tell, Weekly Standard, December 13, 1999.
"... This gaspinducing error turns out to be merely a surface
symptom of the CMP curriculum's paramount, underlying flaw: a
nonchalance about  no, outright hostility towards  the precision,
coherence, and content of mathematics as an academic discipline
worthy of study in its own right. Throughout the booklets, CMP
students are asked to do a great lot of group 'investigation' into
otherwise classic math topics. But those topics are never explicitly
defined as such, and the standard algorithms they involve are never
introduced. Is wholenumber factorization into primes  the
fundamental theorem of arithmetic, which CMP only implicitly
establishes with 'experiments' proposed for sixth grade  an
inviolable principle? The booklets do not say. And they are silent by
design. CMP's teacher manuals advise a passive approach to pupils
because 'showing them how to do something' only produces an
'impression' of success. Parents are then warned not to fill in the
gaps: 'It is important that you do not show your child rules or
formulas for working with fractions,' for example. Better that kids
just figure it out. Or fail to.
Having read this far, you have no doubt reached the not unreasonable
conclusion that Connected Mathematics is a pedagogical disaster
waiting to happen. You will therefore be distressed to learn that it
has already happened; CMP is widely used in public schools across
America."

Plano Parental Rights Council  the battle over Connected Math in Plano
has blossomed into a fullfledged parents' rebellion over progressivist teaching methods.

Plano report on Connected Math: includes numerous reports on the battles in Plano and
nationally over Connected Math.

Why Guilford Parents Should Oppose CMP Math by William Quirk, Ph.D. in Mathematics:
a very indepth analysis of Connected Math, approximately 10 pages in length
SRA Connecting Math Concepts (CMC)
Core Plus / Contemporary Mathematics in Context
Note: Be careful not to confuse this program with:


Comprehensive collection of reviews and links concerning
Core Plus / Contemporary Mathematics in Context
, from NYC HOLD

A study of CorePlus students attending Michigan State University (PDF doc)
by Richard O. Hill and Thomas H. Parker, Department of Mathematics, Michigan State University, March 2003.
Excerpt from the abstract:
"...students
arriving at Michigan State University from four high schools which began using the Core
Plus Mathematics program placed into, and enrolled in, increasingly lower level courses as
the implementation progressed. This conclusion is statistically very robust ... The grades these students
earned in the mathematics courses they took are also below average..."

A sampling of errors in the CorePlus program

School Says Core Plus Program Will Be Abandoned
by Nikki Merfeld, The PostBulletin (Rochester), December 12, 2000. Excerpt:
"AUSTIN  Austin High School has decided to abandon its Core Plus math program. ...
The plan is required, said math teachers, because many students are failing or advancing with little understanding of the concepts."

Evaluation of "Core Plus"
by Steven G. Krantz, Chairman, Department of Mathematics, Washington University, St. Louis

Also go to the
programs review page at Mathematically Correct,
and search on that page.
College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM)

Review of CPM Mathematics
by Wayne Bishop, Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, California State University.
Excerpts:
"With regard to mathematics content, this program does not
sufficiently address the content standards and applicable evaluation
criteria to be recommended for adoption.
... Most of the program is below the specified standards
level and there is too much of an assumption that work will be done
in teams. Although the publisher claims that all standards are met,
several are clearly not met and several more identified herein as met
are, in fact, not adequately met. Finally, there is a systemic
misconception as to what is meant by logical argument in mathematics. ...
"Much of Volume 1 actually detracts from developing algebraic competence.
Almost all of the mathematical content is at the level of
the Grade 7 standards or below, e.g., the equations to be solved all
are, but the activities are still very time consuming and sometimes
frustrating. The worst of all, however, is not teaching the power of
algebra itself. ... This is not algebra and it is not college
preparatory math, no matter what it calls itself. Eventually, Volume
2 starts teaching some algebra but it is too little and too late."

Click to go to the reviews and articles about CPM on the "programs" page at Mathematically Correct.
Mathematics in Context: A Connected Curriculum (MIC)
Note: Be careful not to confuse this program with:

This is a grade 58 program based on a Dutch curriculum, revised by the Wisconsin Center for Education Research,
published by Encyclopaedia Britannica and sold and distributed by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
A teacher in District 87, Bloomington, IL, brought this to our attention when she wrote to us
to say, "In my opinion, this series has been a dismal failure in teaching math."
For some truly scary reading, see the publisher's NCTMdrenched
"Philosophy."
We're also impressed by the chutzpah of this statement from the publisher's website regarding field testing of the MIC program:
Standardized test data were not gathered during the pilot and field testing of the units because it was felt that
information from such tests did not reflect the mathematics content of the units or the instructional goals of
the project.
MathThematics

Review of McDougal Littell's MathThematics Book 2,
Mathematically Correct Seventh Grade Mathematics Review.
The review assigns a "D+" grade to MathThematics. The "Overall Evaluation" says,
"This low rating reflects weakness in content, weakness in presentation, and weakness in student work
as discussed immediately above and in each of the content topic reviews.
It is not possible to recommend this book to anyone for any purpose."
Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP)

Comprehensive collection of reviews and links concerning
IMP: Interactive Mathematics Program
, from NYC HOLD
 Comment on IMP by Bastiaan J. Braams, Ph.D., visiting professor
of mathematics at Emory University:
"The Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP) is to the best of my
knowledge the worst of all high school mathematics programs. I have
found it useful sometimes to show a Grade 9 or Grade 10 IMP text to
mathematician colleagues that are a bit skeptical about the Math Wars:
it shows them immediately that there is a real issue here. IMP Grade
9 has stories on every page, and one has to turn many pages to find as
much as an equals sign in arithmetic, never mind an algebraic
expression. It represents the degenerate extreme of NCTM mathematics."

Teens Bash New 'chIMP' Math: New IMP word problems send kids in search of numbers
by April Capochino, Times HeraldRecord [NY], December 03, 2002.
"A new math curriculum plus confused students equals angry parents.
At least when that new math curriculum is the Interactive Mathematics Program. ...
'The whole program is a travesty,' said parent Traude Ellert, who has
made it her personal mission to convince the district to ax IMP.
'It's like a cancer. We are using language arts books to teach math.
I'm outraged as a taxpayer. Part of my money was used here.'"
 Excerpt from Teacher's Manual, Interactive Mathematics:
Traditionally, mathematics tests have questions with "right" and
"wrong" answers. These tests reinforce the misleading image of
mathematics as a subject with unique correct answers.
MathLand

Click to go to the
list of MathLand articles on the "programs" page at Mathematically Correct.

Where's the Math?
by Debra J. Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle, October 17, 1999.
"UC Berkeley math professor HungHsi Wu couldn't believe the
department described MathLand as 'promising.' He'd describe
MathLand as 'execrable.'
Or how about: 'I can't believe it's math class.' A secondgrade
MathLand exercise called Fantasy Lunch instructs students to think up
their fantasy lunch, draw it on paper, then cut out the 'food' and
place their drawings into a bag.
A frantic teacher wrote to me two years ago, furious that she had
spent 75 minutes on that exercise and there was no math in it. It was
'like therapy,' she said. On more than one occasion, her students
asked her, 'Can we do some real math now?'"
 Illustration of a MathLand "lesson":
"Fantasy Lunch" is a secondgrade exercise which instructs students to think up their fantasy lunch,
draw it on paper, then cut out the "food" and place their drawings into a bag.
One spent 75 minutes on that exercise which contained no mathematics. Students would ask "Can we do some real math now?"
Marilyn Burns, Math Solutions
Inservice programs, workbooks and other materials from "Math Solutions Professional Development"
and its founder, Marilyn Burns, are promoted in many school districts.
The same company is also behind something called the Phil Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academies,
funded by the famous golf pro. The pitch is that invited elementary school teachers get to
attend sessions where they will be taught "best practices" for "encouraging children's interest in math."
In reality, it's just another attack on solid math instruction. (One wonders if Mickelson
himself would be disturbed at the sight of young golfers using a calculator to add up their
scores?)

The Fuzzy Math Mindset Behind Phil Mickelson ExxonMobil Math
by William G. Quirk, Ph.D. This article dissects the Marilyn Burns approach and
has vivid descriptions (with juicy examples) including:
 How Should Children Learn Elementary Math?
 What Should Children Learn in Elementary Math?
 The Marilyn Burns View of How Children Should Learn "Math"
 Marilyn Burns Rejects Standard PaperandPencil Arithmetic
 Marilyn Burns "ProblemSolving Activities"
 Lessons From the Marilyn Burns website
Harcourt Brace: Math Advantage
Saxon Math  ORIGINAL vs. HARCOURT
The original Saxon Math program, published by the independent publisher Saxon,
was a tremendously effective math program that built math understanding and mastery
in a slowly evolving sequence. As a result, it was extremely popular with
homeschoolers and with learningcentered charter schools and independent schools.
Sadly, the program was heavily revised after its 2004 purchase by Harcourt, and is now
radically different from its original incarnation.
For these reasons, our discussion of Saxon is split into two sections, covering the original version
as well as the current version from Harcourt.
Saxon Math  ORIGINAL
 A very interesting study on Saxon [original] is from Anne Arundel County in Maryland,
where the 14 schools scoring lowest in math were switched from Everyday Math and Mathland (two fuzzy math programs)
to Saxon Math [original]. The results were striking. In all 14 schools, math performance jumped after
a year with Saxon [original]:
For much more information on the tremendous success experienced in Virginia with Saxon Math [original],
see the extensive and beautifully designed website
of a local parents' group there,
PBSfx: Parents for Better Schools
 Saxon Math [original] at North Beach Elementary, Seattle, January 14, 2008
 Editorial, Chicago Tribune, April 1, 2002.
"... by some measures, several Chicago charters are seriously outperforming
neighborhood schools. At the three elementary campuses of Chicago International
charter schools, for example, math scores are off the charts compared with the
neighborhood schools the kids likely would attend if the charter didn't exist.
Officials there suggest it may have to do with the
Saxon Math [original] program used at all
its schools."

Dueling Brochures: Everyday Math vs. Saxon Math [original]
by Charles E. Breiling, December 24, 2003.
"We'd heard good things about both 'Chicago Math' ... and 'Saxon Math' [original]
so we wrote to both, asking for more information."

Four Years of California Mathematics Progress, by Wayne Bishop, Ph. D.,
Department of Mathematics, California State University, September 1, 2002. This excellent short paper
documents dramatic improvement when Saxon Math [original] replaced Mathland and other fuzzy math programs
in several California districts:
 "Math scores [in Azuza] there have been surging
in recent years and about half the students in grades two through six are now above the national
average. This year's are higher. Curriculum helps. Azusa and Sacramento City adopted Saxon Math [original]
for the 19992000 year, a decision that helped continue the progress already made by abandoning their
previous and constructivist curriculum, MathLand."
 "
Another district ... that [has] caught public attention [is] ... Baldwin Park, [a] 'havenot'
district ... This district ... adopted the AB2519 approved Saxon Mathematics [original] program ...
[and is an] example of a district that has shown strong success with direct instruction."
 "Cragmont Elementary of Berkeley Unified ... adopted Saxon Math [original] and a look at the scores indicates that,
the mathematics progress was ... striking ..."
 "Annandale Elementary in LAUSD was singled out ... in an LA Times
editorial for ... exceptionally high API increase. It was one of the LAUSD pilots of
Saxon Math [original] and progress continued in 2001. This past year, Annandale was told to replace its Saxon [original]
curriculum with the district mathematics adoption. ... these scores have [now] stagnated,
perhaps due to this curricular change."
 "Some schools with very [high socioeconomic scores], and a history of comparatively strong
performance, are also indicating how far short of potential student achievement had been. One district
that has been pointed out to me as exemplary in this regard is Manhattan Beach Unified, another Saxon
Math [original] district ... In this
district, less than 5% qualify for lunch assistance, more than half the parents are college graduates, most
of the teachers hold full credentials, etc. Student performance is approaching astronomical."

Well, Shut My Mouth
by Linda Schrock Taylor. This is from a Michigan teacher who went to a conference to hear about a new
math curriculum and the latest trends in math education. In the process, she had
some lively (and entertaining) conversations with the math "experts", drawing upon her
decade of successful experience in teaching kids using Saxon Math [original].
 "Saxon math's [original] approach is reasonably close to what research is telling us about how students learn 
much closer, than are the progressive methods advocated by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics."
 Prof. E. D. Hirsch, The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them, page 131
Saxon Math [original] at home
 In addition to being a successful program
for use in school, Saxon [original] is also used at home by many parents to provide
math instruction for their children when the program at school seems to be failing.
It is extremely popular with homeschooling families.
 Many homeschooling families still use the original Saxon program,
buying it used. Try looking on
Amazon
and eBay.
Saxon Math  HARCOURT
 Harcourt buys Saxon: In 2004, Saxon Publishers was acquired by Harcourt, a major national
textbook publisher, and folded into its "Harcourt Achieve" group. This has sounded alarm bells
among many Saxon fans, who have observed 1) Saxon books are now much more restricted in sales to homeschoolers,
2) recent revisions have introduced a number of fuzzymath elements, and 3) "Harcourt Achieve" is positioned
as the remedial/slow learner division of Harcourt, which is not at all how Saxon afficienados see their
beloved math curriculum.

Why Now, Saxon?
by Linda Schrock Taylor. "I am distressed to read that the order of
the topics has been changed in the rewritten books already on the
market, despite the red herring claim that the company values the
incremental steps of the original Saxon books. I am frustrated to
read that instead of instructing, the teacher will serve as 'tutor
and coach.' This sounds too much like NewMath to those of us who
mourn the loss of America's competitive edge in mathematics..."

Questions for Saxon/Harcourt Achieve
by Linda Schrock Taylor.
 A report from a math consultant discusses the sorry state of what is called "Saxon Math" today:

I have now worked with [more than a dozen schools that use the current Harcourt version of Saxon Math].
... In each case, their students collapse at algebra 1 if not earlier.
Sure, some of them manage procedurally, but give them a problem that deviates in the
slightest from the expected procedure, and they fall down.
At one school, where the entire class of 8th graders were supposedly ready for Saxon Algebra 1,
having finished Saxon from K7, using Course 13 in middle school couldn't solve this:
The school sold tickets to a play. They sold 300 total tickets.
Adult tickets cost $3.50 each and student tickets cost $1.50.
They sold $600 worth of tickets.
How many adult tickets did they sell?
Not one could solve it.
More than half couldn't solve:
There are 6 more men than women on a bus of 30 people. How many men are there?
Even after a lesson on these, they couldn't do:
Lucy spent 3 more dollars shopping than Mary. Together they spent $12.60. How much did each one spend?
But it's not just word problems. They left Saxon Course 13 and the majority of kids in class ... can't solve this:
or this:
...
Another teacher said "Yesterday, when I was going over the problem (12ab) + 4ab ...
The kids said, 'Can you just work the problem?' They don't want to understand math,
they just want the procedure and move on."
These students will fail at algebra and above. Not because they are dumb, but because they have been mistaught.
You could claim it is just this school, and this is somehow an outlier.
But this school is like the overwhelming majority of the others:
wellintentioned but mathematically weak teachers, terrible instruction,
terrible curriculum, absolutely no idea what mathematical thinking is,
no way of teaching that math is coherent, reasonable, precise.
Saxon is a disaster, and it was hobbling these children.
Singapore Math
"Singapore Math" no longer means just one thing.
The popular and effective original Singapore program named "Primary Mathematics"
is
still available
and is as good as ever.
But constructivism has oozed into the education establishment in Singapore as well,
and that country has been actively replacing its math materials.
The new "Singapore" programs with names such as "Math In Focus" (from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
and "My Pals are Here"
are NOT of the same caliber and clarity of the original "Primary Mathematics" program.
Singapore math, old and new, are covered in the following sections.
Singapore "Primary Mathematics"
Since the students in Singapore consistently top the world in
math achievement, it makes sense to consider using the same math curriculum
they use (and yes, Singapore students are taught in English).
The texts and workbooks are comfortably light,
and are tastefully attractive and appealing without veering into graphics overload. Each topic
is very carefully laid out with wellchosen numeric and word problems,
and genuinely helpful illustrations.
A number of enlightened charter, independent or private schools have adopted Singapore Math
as their math program. But relatively few mainstream public schools or districts have
done so.
 University professor of computer science Kevin Karplus has an excellent and richly detailed
webpage on K8 math education, which includes a number of excellent
references on Singapore Primary Mathematics.

Miracle Math: A successful program from Singapore tests the limits of school reform in the suburbs
by Barry Garelick, Education Next, Fall 2006.
(Also available as a PDF.)
Excerpts:
"Singapore ... had begun modifying its education policies in the early 1980s to build up its labor force
in such a way as to create technical skills unavailable elsewhere in the Third World.
The Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore ... had created the math program and the accompanying texts,
called Primary Mathematics (which were published in English, Singapore's official administrative language, in 1982),
to help boost that technological prowess. The Primary Mathematics series was at the
heart of Singapore's national math curriculum as it achieved its successive TIMSS victories.
Many professional mathematicians, concerned with the decline of math education in the United States,
took a hard look at the Singapore [Primary Mathematics] methods and texts and liked what they saw. ...
Unlike many American math textbooks, ... which are thick, multicolored, and multicultural,
Singapore's [Primary Mathematics] books are thin and contain only mathematics. There are no graphics (other than occasional cartoons
pertaining to the lesson at hand), no spreadsheet problems, and no problems asking students to use a
calculator to find the mean number of dogs in a U.S. household. With [Singapore Primary Mathematics], students are required
to show their mathematical work, not explain in essays how they did the problems or how they felt about them.
While a single lesson in a U.S. textbook might span two pages and take one class period to go through,
a lesson in a Singapore [Primary Mathematics] textbook might use five to ten pages and take several days to complete. ...
Singapore's texts also present material in a logical sequence throughout the grades and
expect mastery of the material before the move to the next level.
The most important feature of Singapore's [Primary Mathematics] texts is an ingenious problemsolving strategy
built into the curriculum. Word problems are for most students the most difficult part of any mathematics course.
Singapore's [Primary Mathematics] texts help students tackle them through a technique called 'bar modeling,' in which students
draw a diagram to help them solve the problem. Typically, in U.S. texts, students are taught
to use a method called 'Guess and Check'  trying combinations of numbers until the right numbers
are found that satisfy the conditions of the problem  a method that many professional mathematicians consider inefficient (see sidebar).
The barmodeling technique not only provides a powerful method for solving problems,
but also serves as a link to algebra. Symbolic representation of problems,
the mainstay of algebra, emerges as a logical extension of the barmodeling technique."

Singapore Math: Simple or Complex?
by John Hoven and Barry Garelick, Educational Leadership, November 2007.
"Using the bar model approach, Singapore [Primary Mathematics] textbooks enable
students to solve difficult math problems  and learn how to
think symbolically. ...
"Bar modeling is a specific variant of the common Draw a Picture mathematics problemsolving
strategy. Because Singapore [Primary Mathematics] uses this one variant consistently, students know what kind of
picture to draw. That's an advantage if the bar model is versatile enough to apply to many
complex problems  and it is. It is especially useful for problems that involve comparisons, part
whole calculations, ratios, proportions, and rates of change. It communicates graphically and
instantly the information that the learner already knows, and it shows the student how to use
that information to solve the problem.
"Singapore's [Primary Mathematics] textbooks are used in more than 600 schools in the United States and also by many
homeschoolers. The books were discovered and drew high praise when mathematicians and
teachers investigated why Singapore scored so high on international math exams. Homeschoolers
and teachers like them for their simple and effective approach. Mathematicians like them for their
logical structure, coherent curriculum, and focus on the skills necessary for success in algebra.

One Step Ahead of the Train Wreck
by Barry Garelick, Education News, May 15, 2009. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
for teachers and parents looking for a way to teach math to kids before they have to face the insanities of Everyday Math.
The author provides plenty of insight into how Everyday Math fails kids, and gives
very helpful and encouraging advice about addressing some of the schoolbased nonsense through home use
of the extremely effective Singapore [Primary Mathematics] program.

New Equation: As Math Skills Slip, U.S. Schools Seek Answers From Asia;
Singapore's High Test Scores Win Over Some Educators
by Cris Prystay,
The Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2004
 What
the United States Can Learn from Singapore's World Class Mathematics
System (PDF) by Alan Ginsburg, Steven Leinwand, Terry Anstrom and
Elizabeth Pollock. AIR Report, Jan 2005.

We All Have A Lot To Learn:
Singapore's Students Do Brilliantly In Math And Science Tests
by Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek, Jan. 9, 2006
 News report on Singapore Primary Mathematics,
WBBMTV Chicago Channel 2, May 26, 2000:
Singapore Primary Mathematics at home
Singapore Primary Mathematics is used in more and more private and public schools. It is also
very popular with homeschoolers, and is quite suitable for use at home for tutoring.
Here are some U.S. sources for Singapore Primary Mathematics:

SGBox: Singapore's Best Selection carries all of the Singapore textbooks,
plus other materials and books. The webpage has an extensive set of links
to articles, reviews and suggestions on using Singapore Math.

SingaporeMath.com: This site concentrates specifically on Singapore Primary Mathematics
books, and the website also has links to information and quick tests
for determining correct
placement in Singapore Primary Mathematics.

Sonlight curriculum: this company sells primarily to Christian
homeschoolers, but they have good writeups and discussions that would be of interest to
everyone else as well. In their section on Singapore Primary Mathematics, they
provided an extended discussion, listing benefits but also some faults
of the program, and some interesting comparisons with other programs.
 Also try searching for Singapore Primary Mathematics on
Amazon
and eBay.
Singapore  OTHER Programs
Your school is considering something labelled as "Singapore Math"?
Well, be careful and don't get fooled by fuzzy constructivist math dressed up
in borrowed finery.
 A U.S. distributor of the original and effective "Primary Mathematics" curriculum reports,
"The HMH (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) program, Math In Focus, is based upon My Pals are Here (MPH),
a series that is currently the most widely used in Singapore.
Math In Focus does not resemble MPH Maths in outward appearance, with hardcover textbooks,
for example, and has the look of a typical American elementary mathematics series.
MIF is an Americanization of MPH Maths, in other words.
In any case, MPH Maths is a less rigorous program than Primary Mathematics,
reflecting changes Singapore made to the mathematics syllabus over the past several years.
This coming year will see yet another round of changes in Singapore
and the introduction of some new mathematics programs.
Meanwhile, we continue to see steady growth in the U.S. market for
both the U.S. Edition and Standards Edition of Primary Mathematics."
Russian Math textbooks
A series of Russian math textbooks by Enn Nurk and Aksel Telgmaa,
and translated by Will Harte is now available from
Perpendicular Press.
We'll add more info on this highly structured program as we hear more.
ALL OTHER PROGRAMS
Here are links to several excellent resources for extensive reviews, comparisons and comments on many
math programs and textbooks:

NYC HOLD Curriculum Reviews:
Provides information about several fuzzy math programs.

Mathematically Correct: Programs
This page of the MC website has extensive information
about a wide variety of "fuzzy" math curricula.
You'll also find info about effective math programs
as well). Go to that site for extensive information
about math programs.

Mathematics Program Reviews for Grades 2, 5, and 7: Reviews and comparisons
of a number of leading math curricula, from Mathematically Correct.

Approved and unapproved math programs in California:
This list of approved and unapproved programs is handy as a sort of a who's who among
math publishers.

Middle School Math Curricula, What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), U. S. Department of Education.
This report concludes that most of the mathematics curricula used in
American middle schools cannot be proved to be effective.
The review considered 44 curricula currently in use and reviewed
the record of research on their effectiveness.
For only five programs did they feel that there was adequate data on effectiveness.
Click through to see what WWC said about research that is claimed to support
the program used at your school.
Math Outside of School
"How can I teach math to my child at home?"
If your school has stopped
teaching math in an effective way, it's up to you to make sure your child learns
this vital skill. You cannot rely on your school to make up for a gap that they
have caused, or to mend the errors of their way anytime soon.
Your best course of action
of behalf of your own children may be to take up the slack yourself.
Here are a few alternatives you may wish to consider:
AtHome Versions of Great Math Programs
Both of these excellent programs are readily available for athome use, either for tutoring or homeschooling:
Kumon Math
Kumon is a very popular math program that combines athome daily worksheets with
weekly visits to a Kumon center. Since parents are highly
involved and much of the work is done at home, prices are kept much
lower than at most other afterschool tutoring programs.
The strength of the program is mastery of computational algorithms, serving
as a foundation for later understanding.
As a downside, Kumon work focuses tightly on mastery of a single operation
at a time, and then when that is accomplished, work moves on to something
else with little looking back. So, there is almost no emphasis on mixed
practice, or on maintaining skills that were mastered at one time.
There is also almost no coverage of word problems, or putting math skills
into practice. It is quite possible for a child to become very adapt and automatic
at multidigit division, say, but have little confidence on when division is to be used.
(This is not an argument in favor of fuzzy math! Saxon manages to be extremely effective
at maintenance and application, without resorting to endless constructivist games.)
It seems that about half of Kumon students are trying to catch
up in math, and the other half are trying to pull ahead.
Many bright kids clearly do very well with Kumon, and the Kumon newsletter features
them extensively. However, the newsletter says far less about weaker students. It is of concern whether
their success depends on supplementing in the areas that are missing in the Kumon program.
 Link to
Kumon's website
Workbooks, Worksheets
 There are many sources of good practice workbooks for polishing basic skills at home.
Try looking for a teacher's supply store in your area. One publisher with excellent
books of math worksheets is Kelley Wingate. Their worksheets are typically straightforward,
comprehensive, and many have a single friendly cartoon that adds a bit of cheeriness without being
distracting.
Click
here for some references from Google.
 There are a number of websites that generate customized math worksheets on the fly.
Here is a good one created by
Dr. Richard Bechtold.
