Elementary students made similar gains in math after two years using three different curricula with varied approaches, according tofrom Mathematica Policy Research.
The report is the second and final report in a large-scale evaluation of elementary math curricula supported by the federal Institute of Education Sciences.
In the first study, two programs—Math Expressions and Saxon Math—both led to equal mathematics gains by the end of 1st grade. In the second study, researchers found students studying enVision Math (previously called Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Mathematics) caught up with students using the others by the end of 2nd grade.
However, students using Investigations in Number, Data, and Space lagged behind students using the other curricula in both studies.
For the study, researchers randomly assigned the four commonly used curricula to 111 schools in 12 districts during the first year, and 58 schools in seven districts for the follow-up study.
The four curricula differ in how much they focus on open- versus close-ended class questions, how quickly teachers give feedback on correct answers, and how many challenging questions are used.
“More-effective curricula differ in their approaches to instruction and learning, so educators can choose the program that best suits their teaching style,” said Roberto Agodini, the study’s director and a senior economist at the Princeton, N.J.-based research group, in a statement.