Education Report Roundup

Math and Science

By Sean Cavanagh — October 24, 2006 1 min read
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“Improving Mathematics and Science Education” is posted by the RAND Corp.

A study is questioning the effectiveness of “reform oriented” curricula and instruction in mathematics and science, saying there is little evidence that those efforts have led to improved student achievement. The report was produced by RAND Education, a division of the Santa Monica, Calif.-based RAND Corp.

Reform-oriented practices in this context are generally defined as those that were developed in the 1990s and emphasize a deep understanding of math and science through in-class investigations and problem-solving tasks, as opposed to lessons built around teachers’ lectures.

The study, which lists 10 different authors, is based on research conducted in three districts that participated in a National Science Foundation-sponsored program that was identified as reform-oriented. The report says that there are “nonsignificant or weak positive relationships” between reform-oriented instruction and student achievement, when measured on multiple-choice tests; however, the benefits of reform-oriented instruction were somewhat stronger when the results of different kinds of assessments were considered.

A version of this article appeared in the October 25, 2006 edition of Education Week

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