San Antonio, TX—Today, three independent research organizations, in a joint effort, released a 204 page comprehensive analysis of mathematics textbooks under consideration by all Texas school districts for use in grades 1 through 8 along with a separate 21-page report on the differing philosophies of instruction exhibited by the textbooks. The report is being sent to all school districts and local school board members throughout Texas and was developed to provide parents and school officials the information needed to make informed selections of elementary and middle school math textbooks. School districts must notify the Texas Education Agency of their selection by March 31, 1999.
The math textbook analysis was conducted by founders of Mathematically Correct, a national organization of mathematicians, scientists, engineers, and concerned individuals who volunteer to improve the academic integrity of elementary and secondary math education.
The 21-page report was written by Education Connection and sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Education Connection is a non-profit organization established to provide information to the public about primary and secondary education. The Texas Public Policy Foundation is an independent non-profit, non-partisan research institute headquartered in San Antonio, Texas which has researched numerous education reform and curricula issues since its founding in 1989.
Additionally, the findings of the analysis are endorsed by numerous Texas scholars and professionals (see attached statements) who teach or use math in their everyday lives.*
Among the major findings of the analysis are:
- Five textbooks received the highest ratings (above four on a five-point scale) in grades 2, 5 & 7
- Fourteen textbooks received only a fair rating (above three on a five-point scale) for the above grades
- Eight textbooks scored poor marks (below three on a five-point scale)
- Textbooks rating poorly share an instructional approach promoted by the Texas Statewide Systemic Initiative with funding from the National Science Foundation and are based on controversial guidelines published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in 1989. These guidelines promote unproven or discredited instructional methods and are often referred to by the seemingly contradictory name of “standards-based” programs.
- Textbooks with high ratings share a “classical” instructional approach characterized by academic content-based curricula and direct instruction. Empirical research cited in the report documents the superiority of these approaches to learning.
- School district personnel and local school board members need to be aware of the stark contrasts in competing philosophies of math education and should discount the promotional efforts of the Statewide Systemic Initiative (SSI) operated by the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin. SSI-promoted textbooks and instructional methodologies have been shown to diminish academic achievement, especially for disadvantaged students.
- Parents should watch for signs that their children are enrolled in “standards-based” math programs such as when students: Direct their own learning; work in groups to teach one another; construct their own math language, facts, and computations; are not taught or required to memorize facts or formulas; are taught to use calculators as the first and primary form of computation; and are taught that deriving correct solutions lacks importance.
- Hallmarks of successful “classical” math instruction can be characterized by the following: Curricula is taught directly, systematically, and incrementally in small structured and guided steps that progress from basic to more complex learning; instruction is focused on specific academic content (not process or outcomes); repetition, practice, and memorization is used to derive automaticity; and students receive immediate feedback and correction.
Following in summary form are the results of the math textbook analysis for Grades 2, 5 and 7. Also listed are the credentials of the six Texas math textbook review experts.
Grading Textbooks – Grade 2 MathematicsTextbookPublisherScore out of 5SRA Math: Explorations and ApplicationsSRA/McGraw-Hill4.4Math in My WorldMcGraw-Hill School Division3.9Math Grade TwoScott Foresman Addison Wesley3.8Math AdvantageHarcourt Brace3.5Math 2: An Incremental DevelopmentSaxon Publishers3.5Mathematics: Path to Math SuccessSilver Burdett Ginn3.4Everyday Mathematics*Everyday Learning Corporation2.6Investigations in Number, Data and Space*Addison Wesley Longman1.1*National Science Foundation Statewide Systemic Initiative-supported Textbooks
Grading Textbooks – Grade 5 MathematicsTextbookPublisherScore out of 5SRA Math: Explorations and ApplicationsSRA/McGraw-Hill4.1Math 65: An Incremental DevelopmentSaxon Publishers3.8Mathematics – Texas EditionSilver Burdett Ginn3.5Math – Texas EditionScott Foresman Addison Wesley3.2Math AdvantageHarcourt Brace3.1Math in My WorldMcGraw-Hill3.0Everyday Mathematics*Everyday Learning Corporation2.3Investigations in Number, Data and Space*Addison Wesley Longman 1.3*National Science Foundation Statewide Systemic Initiative-supported Textbooks
Grading Textbooks – Grade 7 Pre-AlgebraTextbookPublisherScore out of 5Pre-Algebra, Integrated Transition to Algebra and GeometryGlencoe/McGraw-Hill4.8Passport to Algebra and GeometryMcDougal Littell4.6Algebra ½Saxon Publishers4.3Middle School Math Course 2Scott Foresman Addison Wesley3.8Mathematics: Applications and Connections Course 2Glencoe/McGraw-Hill3.6Math Advantage – Middle School II Preparation for AlgebraHarcourt Brace3.5Middle Grades MathPrentice Hall3.5Math 87Saxon Publishers2.8Passport to Mathematics Book 2McDougal Littell2.7Math Thematics*McDougal Littell2.2Connected Mathematics*Addison Wesley Longman1.7*National Science Foundation Statewide Systemic Intiative-supported Textbooks
Listing and Credentials of Texas Math Textbook Review Experts:
1. Dr. Manuel Berriozabal, Professor of Mathematics, University of Texas at San Antonio, and Director, Texas Pre-Freshman Engineering Program (PREP Office, University of Texas at San Antonio, Science Bldg., Rm. 1103.46, 6900 N. Loop 1604 W., San Antonio, Texas 78249-0661, (210) 458-4496).
2. Mr. David Sanchez, Professor of Mathematics, San Antonio Community College, and President, Texas Chapter of the Mathematical Association of America (Mathematics Department, San Antonio Community College, McCreeless Hall, Math Office, Room 121, 1300 San Pedro, San Antonio, Texas 78212, (210) 733-2450).
3. Dr. James Midgeley, Professor of Physics, University of Texas at Dallas and parent of student taking Connected Mathematics in Plano ISD (2608 Stone Creek, Plano, Texas 75075, (972) 596-8216).
4. Dr. Joseph Horn, Professor of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, and President, Texas Association of Scholars (3311 Big Bend, Austin, Texas 78731, (512) 452-7566).
5. Mrs. Sangeeta Gad, Coordinator, Pre-Freshman Engineering Program and Director of Recruitment for the Center of Computational Sciences, University of Houston (Center for Computational Science, University of Houston Downtown, 1 Main St., Ste. 722 South, Houston, Texas 77002, (713) 221-8432).