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January 25, 2005



I live in PA and our school district uses EM. Unfortunately, our district not only uses this program in the general ed curriculum but also for those students who are in Special Ed and have an IEP. I have recently been successful in removing my child from the EM curriculum and have her now in a Saxon book. I believe this is because I am very vocal and insistant on the Spec Ed children in math being given their own math textbook which they do not have. Although I have been successful with my own daughter, I have not been successful with the other children who need to be taken out of this program but I have not given up!

Our daughter is in 6th grade (the last year in the elementary school). She had a year of Investigations (a total waste of a school year) in 2nd grade as a pilot program. In third grade, she was put into EM. We knew she had a LD, had her diagnosed, had the school district deny our diagnosis, and was given accommodations by the school district for her. (It wasn't until the end of fourth grade and our threat to go to due process was our daughter given an IEP - another story for another time) Because we have two other children who are older than she is, we knew that she had to master her times tables by the end of third grade. I had a meeting with her third grade teacher, who luckily agreed with me and started to institute the times tables again (for her class). However, the matter is more difficult with a LD student, particularly our daughter who is diagnosed with short term memory difficulty among other things. We were informed that our daughter would never master the times tables (by school personnel) and was not expected to do so. We insisted and she now has mastery of her tables up to ten. It took many hours of repetition and review and hard work on her part.

For children who have LDs, and to expose them to many different ways to solve problems and then expect these same children to know what way is best for them is absurb! I know from my own experience that our daughter needed to be shown one way to solve a problem and then build on that. Add to that a reading disability, and EM is disastorous!

I agree with your comments about parents who can afford to have tudors for their children and those who cannot. Our school district encompasses different social areas and this is a factor.

I have been very vocal about the times tables being posted on the desks and around the classrooms and how this is a practice that should be discontinued. I am labled as a parent who does not like EM.

I would really like to know how much money a school district is spending on the EM program once any grants for implementing it are finished.


Thank you for your comments concerning Everyday Math. You mentioned that the state standardized tests revealed the problem your child was having with EM. What state do you live in?

Michael Paul Goldenberg

MPG: Dear "Parent Pundit,"

PP: Parent Pundit Blog

PP: January 25, 2005
PP: If your school has Everyday Math

PP: If your school uses Everyday Math, you should be
extremely watchful.

MPG: On the other hand, if your school is using the same
failed approach to math that didn't work for most of
your peers or most of your parents' peers, or most of
your GRANDPARENTS' peers, and won't work for most of
your kids' peers, no need to be watchful at all: you
KNOW what's going to happen for most kids: hatred and
fear of mathematics, some degree of procedural
knowledge, but not much, and very little conceptual or
problem solving knowledge whatsoever. Math for them
will be what it was for you, your parents, and your
grandparents: a bunch of steps to memorize and follow
blindly; something that you have to be born "smart" to
be able to do; irrelevant to everyday life; a torture;
a subject in which teachers get to humiliate students
with impunity; a class where you'd better know the
single right answer or keep your hand down and mouth
shut; something only the elite can do; an enigma
wrapped inside a riddle wrapped inside a mystery.

Nope. No need for concern there at all.

PP: Everyday Math is problematic because it
is a language-intensive-based program that

MPG: Gods forbid kids should connect mathematical
competency with literacy, that math should require
reading skills, that math should occur in contexts
(thus requiring some reading)!

PP: * stresses the use of calculators,

MPG: I'm working in approximately 20 4th & 5th grade
classrooms where EM is currently used, in a primarily
black, Latino, and Asian poor semi-urban community
near Detroit. In the now-daily visits I make to five
elementary schools there, I've seen calculators used
exactly once, and not by all students, since I began
my work in the winter.

PP: * wants the kids to come up with their own ways
to solve the problems

MPG: Again, Gods forbid that kids should think about how to
do math, rather than have math poured in one ear which
for the majority isn't understood, and which can be
reliably predicted to flow out the other ear in short
order regardless. Of course, in the real world, every
problem we encounter will be clearly defined, will
have a clear-cut and STATED procedure for solving it,
and will result in nice, clean integers (or at least
friendly fractions) for its answers. No thinking
whatsoever will be required.

PP: * doesn't teach the traditional algorithms (the

MPG: Haven't reached the material on division yet, but the
above statement is a bald-faced lie. EM teaches three
approaches to multiplication: the so-called standard
algorithm, partial products, and the lattice method. I
have yet to see a single teacher out of the 20 or so I
work with who did NOT teach the traditional algorithm
in addition to those others. And the others were
taught later, not sooner.

PP: and division methods that they teach break down when
using large numbers, but there is absolutely no reason to be able to compute
large numbers nowadays, is there?),

MPG: Not by hand. But that's not something that is at the
heart of EM or any other book of which I'm aware. I'll
check out EM on division and report back, likely with
a lot more accuracy than you've offered.

PP: * and does not advocate drill in any form.

MPG: Again, teachers are free to use any methods they like,
and the ones I'm working with do. There most certainly
is drill. But the point is that EM doesn't advocate
AGAINST drill. Your statement is like saying, that I
must be against feeding children because I haven't
said in this e-mail that you SHOULD feed them.

PP: Now, this means that some kids lose out:

* Kids who might have a language problem but
would be really good at

MPG: The lie here is two-fold, at least: first all the
teachers I work with try very hard to make
accomodations for all kinds of special needs kids,
including ELL students. The book comes in a Spanish
language edition which some of the students use.
Unfortunately, it is not yet available in Hmong, the
third most widely spoken language in some of these
classrooms. Tutors are sometimes available, and those
Spanish- and Hmong-speaking students who are more
fluent in English translate for their more monolingual
classmates. It's not ideal, but how is it worse than
using a tradtional book? You need to make the case
that: A) math isn't grounded in natural language
(lot's of luck; see, for example, WHERE MATHEMATICS
COMES FROM by George Lakoff & Raf Nunez) and B) that
traditional texts better address problems of slow
readers and ELL students. Good luck, again.

PP: * kids who need the "rules" first and then they
can come to the
concepts (think phonics versus whole language),

MPG: Ah, the old "whole language" bogeyman is tossed in for
good measure. But again, traditional texts are
generally biased in the other direction and
shortchange those kids who need alternatives. So
you're hoist by your own petard here. Moreover, my
observations suggest that EM mixes its approaches so
that in one lesson a more conceptual approach might
precede a more procedural one, and in others, the
reverse. The geometry chapter in the 5th grade book,
for example, teaches a lot of the names needed for
working with 2 and 3 dimensional figures in 3.3 (the
previous sections are on another thing entirely)
before students do any exploring or problem-solving
with angles, polygons, etc. It sruck me as pretty
traditional. Of course, if you've a political axe to
grind, it's easy to ignore that chapter, for some

PP: * and kids who need drill in order to retain

MPG: Addressed above, thank you.

PP: Furthermore, if your child is mathematically gifted
and is good in
language, this program is just not advanced enough.

Sounds like EM is damned regardless. Must not be good
for anyone. Whereas the magic book you're going to
tell us about is all things to all people.

PP: My town uses this and it is a disaster for both my
kids. My daughter falls
into the categories of needing the rule, then the
concept and needing more
drill. I am drilling my daughter in math concepts
using a computer program,
and she has improved dramatically. On the other
hand, my son is so bored it
is frightening. Particularly frightening is that I
have read that it leaves
out concepts that you need in order to go on to math
at the highest levels.
I'm doing more research on that now.

MPG: Yes, and I've read that it causes AIDS, too. Your kids
are just that: yours. They aren't a large research
base. You're obviously very opposed to EM. My guess is
that you were very opposed to it and anything like it
beforehand. (Think: phonics-only vs. whole-language
;^), and that your report on EM, which is, frankly,
mostly a thin tissue of lies and distortions, was
fueled by your political/educational biases.

PP: How did I find out about this and come to these
conclusions? The state
standardized tests; literally, thank God for the
state standardized tests,
the only test that allows a glimpse of what might be
happening within the
schools before it is too late. My daughter received
a "needs improvement"
on her 4th grade math scores. Meanwhile, her math
grades were all fine --
nothing that showed she should have received a needs

MPG: And of course, your state tests for which you're
thanking a deity, have been proved to align perfectly
with your state's math curriculum standards? To
measure everything the state wants kids to be able to
know and do, accurately and reliably, and to leave out
nothing of value, and to not in fact introduce its own
artifacts into the data base by the format it uses?
Your state standards no doubt read that the goal of
math teaching is that kids can correctly answer
multiple-guess questions, decontextualized from
real-world applications or placed in completely
aritifical ones added just for show? That real math
means calculation?

MPG: Could it just possibly be that the test isn't enough
information? Especially when testing experts
universally declare that no one test or one kind of
test should be used as the sole or even primary basis
for evaluating something. And that a test cannot be
validly used to measure something it was not designed
to measure, so that a test meant to evaluate student
achievment in mathematics should NOT be used to
evaluate the effectiveness of teachers, schools, or

PP: Of course, on receiving the score, I immediately
contacted the school and
asked for a copy of the test and her answers, which
I received. I had her
take the test in my kitchen to make sure that the
results were valid.

MPG: Oops. Isn't that a test of reliability, not of
validity? Maybe your math education is lacking a bit.
Try EM, CPM, and perhaps MMOW as an effective sequence
that would plug some gaps your traditional schooling
seems to have left.

PP: They
were. Only one question off. I asked for a teacher
conference, which I
received. Her teacher didn't seem concerned and said
that she wasn't a
candidate for remedial math, and I can see why. My
daughter gets concepts
pretty quickly, but if she doesn't drill to retain
them, then they aren't

MPG: Hmm. If she doesn't drill to retain CONCEPTS, the
CONCEPTS aren't retained? That seems odd to me. I
find, personally, that if I own a bit of mathematical
knowledge conceptually, I need relatively little
repetition to be able to reconstruct formulas,
procedures, etc., but that no amount of drill on
equation solving or calculation will automatically
result in my getting a deep conceptual understanding
of what I'm doing. Takes THINKING and exploration for

PP: Furthermore, I found out at a school committee
meeting that my daughter's
elementary school didn't implement the curriculum
correctly in comparison
to the other schools in town. Everyday Math is based
on a spiral - keep
teaching the same concept in small doses each year.
If you don't get it
that year, you will get it the next. Well, the
teachers at my daughter's
school slowed down the curriculum so most children
got it the first time.
They didn't go ahead as fast as they should have. As
a result, they didn't
finish the program each year, and my daughter never
was exposed to some key
concepts at all. (This has since been fixed, but the
parents who didn't
listen to that school committee meeting were not

MPG: So this is the fault of whom, exactly, assuming that
it's really a fault at all? Switching targets without
mentioning the fact is rather dirty rhetorical pool.

PP: Fast forward to the end of 5th grade. It turns out
that they give a pretest
and a posttest for the curriculum. In other words,
they give the final at
the beginning of the year and at the end of the year
to track the learning.
My daughter received a 25 at the beginning of her
5th grade year in math,
but she only received a 69 at the end of the year.
Obviously, one year
didn't make up for what she was missing.

MPG: Gosh, it seems like she improved rather dramatically.
But I'm sure that you think she should have gotten
100. Of course, if you advocate for the usual
mile-wide, inch-deep approach to math teaching, that's
no surprise. Would it surprise you to read that, based
on the TIMSS data, while US and Japanese curricula
have nearly the same number of topics in 8th grade (26
in Japan, 27 in the US), "fewer than 25% of Japanese
teachers teach 50% or more topics, while approximately
98% of U.S. teachers do." And in a significantly
et al., p. 35)

PP: Clearly, intervention was needed. In the summer at
the end of 5th grade, I
had her try the Aleks computer program in math, The Charter
School in my town uses it, and I decided to try it
for my own daughter. A
tutor would have been expensive and less than
optimal in this situation
because my daughter does get concepts, she just
needs more drill (how can
most kids hone their number sense if they aren't
ever asked to multiply and
divide numbers continuously), and she needs
algorithms that have fewer
steps so there is less possibility of error
(everything that Everyday Math
does not provide.)

MPG: Stated, again, by you without proof. Given that I have
evidence that you're misrepresenting what goes on with
this program, I'm not impressed with your analysis

PP: According to Aleks, my daughter only knew 21% of a
traditional 5th grade
curriculum - and this was at the end of 5th grade.
Talk about having a
heart attack! This was soon remedied. My daughter is
now in the 6th grade
and she has completed the 5th and 6th grade
curriculum according to Aleks.
I'm looking forward to the tests at the end of the
year to see if my
intervention worked.

MPG: If "Aleks" is so reliable, maybe it should be made
Czar of US Mathematics Education. We can have colored
alerts for the current state of danger our kids are
in. Would fit both the Bush political agenda of
fear-mongering and your attempts to scare the pants,
quite dishonestly, off any parent who doesn't bother
to do a lot of checking into what actually is and
isn't in EM or in EM classrooms.

PP: All of the things that apply to my daughter don't
apply to my son. He gets
everything the first time, including figuring out
the multiplication
tables, etc. He doesn't need drill. He just needs to
spend more than 60
seconds doing his math homework - something that is
a bit more challenging.
He isn't going to get it from this program or the
town's teaching methods.
When teaching reading there is more sophistication
in the teaching methods,
kids are broken out by ability and then brought back
together. In math,
every kid is the same. And every kid SHOULD learn
math the same way; it
doesn't matter what their learning style is or what
their strengths are -
it doesn't matter what IS.

MPG: That's amusing. Professor Wayne Bishop, the fellow who forwarded your piece to the math-teach list where I read it is always saying exactly that all kids
should learn math the same way. Anyone who suggests
otherwise is a racist, etc. Must mean he didn't read
your piece so carefully. Just recognized you as
another EM hater, and didn't much care about any

PP: So, bottom line? Kids in upper income communities
will probably do OK
despite the Everyday Math curriculum. Why? Because
there are parents like
me to pick up the pieces. If it isn't Aleks, then it
is high-priced tutors
or mom or dad working with the kids each night. If
there are concepts that
are missing that are needed to become a
mathematician, we'll find out what
they are and make sure they learn them.

MPG: Gosh, what a complex web of bologna you weave for us.
What would I be willing to bet that neither of your
kids becomes a professional mathematician and that you
wouldn't be happy if s/he did, given what most of
those folks make in salary? And you've "proved"
through no data whatsoever that EM is simultaneously
too hard AND too easy. What a feat of

PP: Where Everyday Math will do real damage is in the
communities who don't
have the knowledge or the resources to overcome the

MPG: Interesting. So what WOULD work for those kids? What
should YOUR genius son and not-so-genius (on YOUR
view) daughter be using in your not-so-deprived
community? Why are the vast majority of teachers I'm
working with generally pleased with EM, despite the
fact that they're under enormous pressure from our
state test and working with generally poor students
with low reading skills who come to school underfed,
under-rested, and generally without much of a support
network at home? These aren't, for the most part,
recent products of Schools of Education. They've
mostly taught more traditional programs. Most say they
prefer EM, so far. Some don't, yet even those seem to
be teaching less traditionally, but using some of
their own ideas.

PP: And, sadly, who really gets shortchanged here? The
kid who might be
mathematically gifted but who has a language
disability. All kids should
have the opportunity to be good at something; these
kids can't even have that.

MPG: Again, this is grossly inaccurate.

PP: To find out what it could do if parents don't pay
attention, read this: How
Not to Teach Math, New York's chancellor Klein's
plan doesn't compute, by
Matthew Clavel (City Journal, Mar 7, 2003).

To find out what concepts are missing, read this:
Review of the Everyday
Mathematics Curriculum and its Missing Topics and
Skills, by Tsewei Wang
(April 9, 2001)

And for lots more criticism, go to this page:
Reviews of UCSMP Everyday

MPG: Right and go to for
MORE bullshit.

MPG: Then try going to for
alternative views on this and other Math Wars issues.
Unlike you, I offer links to both opposing views and
views with which I agree. Which of us is more likely
being fair-minded? Which of us has the more reliable
take on EM? (or should I have said 'valid'? ;^)

Michael Paul Goldenberg, Director
RationalMath, LLC
1604 Saunders Crescent
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
734 644-0975

Parent Pundit

I just want to tell everyone that I have responded to Trish and Ellen via email.

Michael, thank you for posting your comments yourself since I had asked your permission if I could post it on my blog.

Here is my original response to your slightly edited original response above:


I talked about my experiences with the Everyday Math Curriculum in factual terms about what I have observed with my own children and their difficulties. Our town is smart enough to not even attempt to teach the Everyday Math as written to students with language disabilities -- so I am not the only one to come to that conclusion.

I have to say that I am writing this to parents so they can be on the lookout with their own children so they don't fully accept what the school tells them in terms of what their children have actually learned. I don't have either the authority, power or the influence to change how math is taught in the US, but I do have all three in terms of my own household, and I have the right to invoke those when what I see is demonstrably not working for my children. I also have the right to dissemenate what I have learned.

The day when the the mainstream media controls the agenda is over with the advent of the Internet, warts and all -- and right behind that will be the educational institutions. They will be forced into a dialogue, hopefully with people a lot more knowledgable than I am, but this is a start.

I hope you enjoy my next post on this subject!

And would it be OK to post your email commenting on my post on my blog? I'm happy to give people both sides, and you are much more eloquent than I am expressing the pro EM side.


Mary Moreira

I am a math teacher who has taught a number of the 'reform curriculums' like Everyday Math, although I have taught mostly at middle and high school. I have also had 3 kids who went through traditional math courses.

I think that some of the criticisms of Everyday Math are valid, but it is more often due to teachers who have not been adequately trained in how to use this curriculum. This is most often the problem when students seem to not be learning necessary facts and skills. In Everyday Math, the repetition is mostly provided in the games which are part of the curriculum. But many teachers without training assume that these are used to 'reward' students once in a while, so students never get the concentrated practice to learn the basic facts. In secondary classes, teachers DO expect students to have memorized the basic facts. Elementary teachers need to be able to use various strategies, adapted to their students, to mkae sure their students know them.

Compounding this, some teachers - AND some district math trainers - have misinterpreted the math standards. There is value in having students 'explore' how to do standard operations such as addition, but in the end the teacher must bring the students back and show how the 'standard algorithm' (what we all learned) is the most efficient method. The teacher also needs to understand 'why' the standard method works. Students in other countries may have a different 'standard method', but the math behind it is still the same.

The key weakness is teachers who have limited understanding of the concepts of mathematics. The real solution to the problems noted by Katherine Prouty is insuring that ALL our teachers are competent in the subjects they teach - from K to 16. The weakness in our education system is that teachers have almost no time to sit down and talk with their colleagues about what and how to teach the content. Teachers in other countries have much more time to do this which probably explains in great part why their students do better on international comparisons.

Michael Paul Goldenberg

Andy Isaacs, one of the main folks at the project at University of Chicago that developed Everyday Mathematics and its revisions posted the following today. It's lengthy, but provides a thorough list of research articles, etc. on EM:

It turns out that I have just done a minor update to a list of
peer-reviewed research about EM, which I have copied below. I'm sorry
that it's a bit long, but there is after all a lot of research about
the program. Those of you who are interested in EM might want to look
at some of this research.

Andy Isaacs

Everyday Mathematics Research Summary
University of Chicago School Mathematics Project

The research evidence about Everyday Mathematics (EM) almost all
points in the same direction: Children who use EM tend to learn more
mathematics and like it better than children who use other programs.
This finding has been supported by research carried out by the
University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP), by
independent researchers at other universities, and by many school
districts across the nation. The absolute amount of this research is
large - the reports fill several large binders - but, compared to
what is available for other curricula, it is enormous. As a recent
report from the National Academy of Sciences (NRC, 2004) makes clear,
no other currently available elementary school mathematics program
has been subjected to so much scrutiny by so many researchers. The
agreement about the curriculum across so many research studies is,
itself, perhaps the strongest evidence that EM is effective.

Attached to this memo is an annotated bibliography of research about
EM. One of the articles in this bibliography, the chapter by Carroll
and Isaacs in Standards-Based School Mathematics Curriculum: What Are
They? What Do Students Learn? (2003), summarizes research about EM
before roughly 1998. Here we briefly summarize some of the more
important studies that have been completed since then. Note that all
but one of these studies has appeared in a peer-reviewed journal; the
one that has not (Sconiers, Isaacs, Higgins, McBride, & Kelso, 2003)
is currently under review at the Journal for Research in Mathematics

Please contact the UCSMP Everyday Mathematics Center at with any questions or comments about this
research summary or visit our website at

National Research Council. (2004). On evaluating curricular
effectiveness: Judging the quality of K-12 mathematics evaluations.
Committee for a Review of the Evaluation Data on the Effectiveness of
NSF-Supported and Commercially Generated Mathematics Curriculum
Materials. Confrey, J. & Stohl, V. (Eds.), Mathematics Science
Education Board, Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and
Social Science and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies


Carroll, W. M. (2001). Students in a Standards-based mathematics
curriculum: Performance on the 1999 Illinois State Achievement Test.
Illinois Mathematics Teacher, 52(1), 3-7.
* This paper reports a study of the performance of Chicago-area
EM students on the 1999 Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT).
The study compared 12,880 third-grade EM students and 11,213
fifth-grade EM students with 47,742 third-grade non-EM students and
50,023 fifth-grade non-EM students.
* The study found that EM students significantly outperformed
comparison students, even after controlling for all other significant
variables such as percent low-income and per-pupil expenditure.
* The study also found that, "the differences favoring the EM
curriculum were largest in schools with a higher percentage of
low-income students" (p. 5).

Riordan, J. E., & Noyce, P. E. (2001). The impact of two
standards-based mathematics curricula on student achievement in
Massachusetts. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 32(4),
* This paper reports results of a quasi-experimental study of
the performance of fourth grade EM and eight grade Connected
Mathematics students on the 1999 Massachusetts state test. The study
included the entire population of EM students. "Results attest to the
effect of these curriculum programs as actually implemented under
ordinary prevailing conditions in unselected schools, without regard
to whether the programs were implemented optimally" (p. 390).
* 67 EM schools were included, 48 of which had implemented the
program for four or more years. Comparison schools were chosen to
match the EM schools on math scores from the year before the
introduction of EM and the percentage of low-income students.
* The results "indicate that Everyday Mathematics schools
outperformed comparison schools in all question types and all
reporting categories, except that there was no difference in
statistics for early implementers and in geometry for later
implementers" (p. 389).
* "The positive impact of the standards-based programs on
student performance was remarkably consistent across students of
different gender, race, and economic status. Students at the top,
bottom, and middle of their classes all did better with the
standards-based programs than did their counterparts using
traditional programs. Š For schools that had adopted these programs
at least four years ago, early gains were sustained or increased
further over time" (p. 390).
* "These findings suggest a progressive achievement gain for
Everyday Mathematics, that is, a positive longitudinal effect of the
program on achievement" (p. 387).

Carroll, W. M., Fuson, K. C., & Diamond, A. (2000). Use of
student-constructed number stories in a reform-based curriculum.
Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 19, 49-62.
Carroll, W. M. (2000). Invented computational procedures of students
in a Standards-based Curriculum. Journal of Mathematical Behavior,
18(2), 111-121.
Fuson, K. C., Carroll, W., & Drueck, J. (2000). Achievement results
for second and third graders using the Standards-based curriculum
Everyday Mathematics. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education,
31(3), 277-295.
* These papers report results from a five-year longitudinal
study of EM funded by the National Science Foundation and carried out
by Karen Fuson's group at Northwestern University.
* The project followed several hundred children using the first
edition of EM in Grades 1-5 from 1992 through 1997. The project
produced two dissertations, many articles in peer-reviewed journals,
and a series of reports about strengths and weaknesses of EM that
were used in the revisions that led to the second edition.
* The project found that EM students outperformed comparison
students across all grades and raised achievement to levels
approaching that of high-performing Asian countries. "On traditional
vertical symbolic multi-digit addition and subtraction, EM students
performed as well as students using traditional approaches. On a wide
range of other mathematically and conceptually demanding tasks, EM
students outperformed other groups" (Fuson, Carroll, & Drueck, 2000,
p. 292).

Schoenfeld, A. H. (2002). Making mathematics work for all children:
Issues of standards, testing, and equity. Educational Researcher, 31
(1), pp. 13-25.
* Alan H. Schoenfeld is past president of the American
Educational Research Association, Vice President of the National
Academy of Education, and a Fellow of the American Association for
the Advancement of Science. Schoenfeld has a PhD in mathematics from
Stanford and is a professor in the Graduate School of Education at UC
* This paper, available at, summarizes
several research studies that have to do with EM, including Riordan
and Noyce (2001), Briars and Resnick (2000), Carroll and Isaacs
(2003), and a study from the Michigan Invitational Group, a coalition
of school districts, many of whom use EM.
* "To briefly summarize the current state [of research on
large-scale implementation of reform curricula], a converging body of
data indicates the following:
"1. On test of basic skills, there are no significant performance
differences between students who learn from traditional or reform
"2. On tests of conceptual understanding and problem solving,
students who learn from reform curricula consistently outperform
students who learn from traditional curricula by a wide margin.
"3. There is some encouraging evidence that reform curricula can
narrow the performance gap between Whites and under-represented
Š "In short, the fears of anti-reform groups that reform curricula
would cause a decrease in student skill levels appear to be
"Data such as these indicate that coherent approaches to teaching
mathematics for conceptual understanding produce significant
improvements across the board - not only in concepts and problem
solving, but in skills as well" (p. 16).
* Concludes from the research that, "The bottom line is that
standards-based reform appears to work when it is implemented as part
of a coherent systemic effort in which curriculum, assessment, and
professional development are aligned. Not only do many more students
do well, but the racial performance gap diminishes substantially" (p.
* "Š the Michigan data indicate that when standards,
assessment, curriculum, and professional development are
appropriately aligned, low-SES districts can perform as well on
meaningful assessments as other much more wealthy districts" (p. 21).

Baxter, J. A., Woodward, J., & Olson, D. (2001). Effects of
reform-based mathematics instruction on low achievers in five
third-grade classrooms. Elementary School Journal, 101(5), 529-547.
* This paper extends an earlier study of learning disabled
children using the first edition of third grade EM (Woodward &
Baxter, 1997). The earlier study used the Iowa Test of Basic Skills
and the Informal Mathematics Assessment, a test of problem solving
abilities, and found that EM was effective for average- and
high-ability students, but less effective for lower-ability students.
* The study used surveys, interviews, and classroom
observations to examine the difficulties low-achieving students face
when working with curricula such as EM, and identified the formation
of a community of learners and the cognitive load as key features of
the curriculum that need to be considered in relation to low
* The article concludes, "We strongly believe that it is
unwarranted to conclude from our work that reform-based mathematics
should be abandoned when teaching low achievers; however, our work
does suggest that many of these students may be struggling and need
additional support."

Sconiers, S., Isaacs, A., Higgins, T., McBride, J., & Kelso, K. R.
(2003) The ARC Center tri-state student achievement study. Lexington,
MA: The Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications. (Currently
under review at the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education.)
* This paper reports results of a large-scale study of 100,000
children in Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington State using
standards-based elementary mathematics curricula. The study was
funded by the National Science Foundation.
* The study included 39,701 students who had studied with EM
for at least two years and 38,481 students from non-using comparison
schools carefully matched by reading level, socioeconomic status, and
other variables.
* Student performance was measured by the state-mandated tests
in the three states: the fourth-grade MCAS in Massachusetts, the
third- and fifth-grade ISATs in Illinois, and the third-grade Iowa
Test of Basic Skills and fourth-grade WASL in Washington.
* The results show that the average scores of the EM students
are significantly higher than the average scores of students in their
matched comparison schools. The results hold across the different
state-mandated tests, and across all topics, including computation,
measurement, geometry, algebra, problem solving, and making
* The study compared the scores on all the topics tested at all
the grade levels tested (Grades 3-5) in each of the three states. Of
34 comparisons across five state-grade combinations, 29 favor the EM
students, five show no statistically significant difference, and none
favor the comparison students. The results also hold across all
income and racial subgroups - except for Hispanic students, where
Everyday Mathematics students have higher (but not statistically
significantly higher) average scores.

Waite, R. D. (2000). A study of the effects of Everyday Mathematics
on student achievement of third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students
in a large North Texas Urban School District. Ann Arbor, Michigan:
* This is a doctoral dissertation, which was directed by Hoyt
Watson, from the University of North Texas.
* The study compared the performance of students in a large
North Texas school district who were taught with two different
mathematics curricula. One curriculum, used in six schools, was
Everyday Mathematics; the other curriculum, used in 12 schools, was a
more traditional, district-approved textbook from a large publisher.
The schools were matched by SES, ethnic makeup, and prior ITBS
mathematics scores.
* After one year of Everyday Mathematics usage, "almost all
comparisons showed that the experimental group taught with the
Everyday Mathematics curriculum had higher scores on the 1999 Texas
Assessment of Academic Skills mathematics test. When compared to
children with similar mathematics ability at the beginning of the
1998-99 school year, the students in this study who were taught using
Everyday Mathematics showed greater achievement gains than students
in classes that used the district-approved curriculum" (p. 2).

Everyday Mathematics Research Bibliography

This bibliography is divided into five sections:
* Research studies that form the basis of the curriculum
* Formative studies conducted during the development of the curriculum
* Reports from Northwestern University's five-year longitudinal study
* Summative studies by UCSMP and non-UCSMP researchers
* School and district studies

1. The Research Basis
The Everyday Mathematics curriculum is based on the authors' own
academic research into young children's mathematical abilities, as
well as on systematic surveys of the mathematics education research
literature for effective classroom practices. The papers in this
section provide an overview of the research foundations of the
Bell, M. S. (1994). What does "Everyman" really need from school
mathematics? (Reprint of 1974 article). Mathematics Teacher, 87(7),
Isaacs, A., Carroll, W., & Bell, M. (1998). A research-based
curriculum: The research foundations of the UCSMP Everyday
Mathematics curriculum. Chicago: University of Chicago School
Mathematics Project Elementary Component.
Usiskin, Z. (1988). The beliefs underlying UCSMP. UCSMP Newsletter,
Winter, 9-15.

2. Formative Studies
Each grade level of the Everyday Mathematics program went through a
three-year development cycle that included a year of writing, a year
of extensive field-testing in a cross-section of classrooms, and a
year of revising. During the field-test phase, implementation and
achievement data were gathered and analyzed, and the resulting
findings were used as a basis for the revisions. This section
includes unpublished papers that summarize some of the field-test
Carroll, W. M. (1995). Report on the field test of Fifth Grade
Everyday Mathematics. Chicago: University of Chicago School
Mathematics Project Elementary Component.
Carroll, W. M. (1996). A follow-up to the fifth-grade field test of
Everyday Mathematics: Geometry and mental and written computation.
Chicago: University of Chicago School Mathematics Project Elementary
Carroll, W. M., & Porter, D. (1994). Summary report: A field test of
fourth grade Everyday Mathematics. Chicago: University of Chicago
School Mathematics Project Elementary Component.
Hedges, L. V., Stodolsky, S. S., & Mathison, S. (1987). A formative
evaluation of Kindergarten Everyday Mathematics (Evaluation report
#86/87-KEM-1). Chicago: University of Chicago School Mathematics
Hedges, L. V., Stodolsky, S. S., & Mathison, S. (1988). A follow-up
of Kindergarten Everyday Mathematics Users (Evaluation report
#87/88-KEM-2). Chicago: University of Chicago School Mathematics
Northwestern University Longitudinal Study of Everyday Mathematics.
(1998a). Suggestions for the revision of Fourth Grade Everyday
Mathematics: Findings from the Northwestern University Longitudinal
Northwestern University Longitudinal Study of Everyday Mathematics.
(1998b). Fourth-grade feedback on specific lessons.
Northwestern University Longitudinal Study. (undated-a). Suggestions
for the revision of Fifth-Grade Everyday Mathematics: Findings from
the Northwestern University Longitudinal Study.
Northwestern University Longitudinal Study. (undated-b). Summary
report: Recommendations for revisions of Everyday Mathematics:
Lessons learned from observations (Report from the Northwestern
University Longitudinal Study).
Northwestern University Longitudinal Study. (undated-c). Draft 4EM
results, received 3-25-99 (Report from the Northwestern University
Longitudinal Study).

3. Northwestern's Longitudinal Study
Researchers at Northwestern University conducted a five-year
longitudinal study of the Everyday Mathematics curriculum. The study
used student and teacher interviews, classroom observations, written
tests and surveys, and collected artifacts. These papers summarize
the findings of the Northwestern study. Carroll (2001) provides the
most comprehensive overview of this research.
Carroll, W. M. (2001). A longitudinal study of children in the
Everyday Mathematics curriculum. Chicago: University of Chicago
School Mathematics Project.
Drueck, J. V., Fuson, K. C., Carroll, W. M., & Bell, M. S. (1995).
Performance of U.S. first graders in a reform math curriculum
compared to Japanese, Chinese, and traditionally taught U.S.
students. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American
Educational Research Association, San Francisco.
Fuson, K. C. (1997). What do we see in Everyday Mathematics
classrooms? TeacherLink, 5(2), 1-2. Chicago: Everyday Learning
Fuson, K. C., Carroll, W., & Drueck, J. (2000). Achievement results
for second and third graders using the Standards-based curriculum
Everyday Mathematics. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education,
31(3), 277-295.
See also Northwestern University Longitudinal Study of Everyday
Mathematics (1998a, 1998b, undated-a, undated-b, undated-c) in the
"Formative Studies" section.

4. Summative Studies
Most of the reports in this section have been published in
peer-reviewed journals. Three doctoral dissertations (Fraivillig,
2001; Murphy, 1999; Waite, 2000) are also included. Important papers
in this section include Baxter, Woodward, & Olson (2001); Noyce &
Riordan (2001); Woodward & Baxter (1997); and Sconiers, Isaacs,
Higgins, McBride, & Kelso (2003). The last is a report of a
wide-scale study of the effects of reform curricula on student
achievement. The study included over 100,000 students in three
states. Approximately 75% of the students in the experimental group
of this study used Everyday Mathematics.
Baxter, J. A., Woodward, J., & Olson, D. (2001). Effects of
reform-based mathematics instruction on low achievers in five
third-grade classrooms. Elementary School Journal, 101(5), 529-547.
Carroll, W. M. (1996). Mental computation of students in a
reform-based mathematics curriculum. School Science and Mathematics,
96(6), 305-311.
Carroll, W. M. (1996). Use of invented algorithms by second graders
in a reform mathematics curriculum. Journal of Mathematical Behavior,
15(2), 137-150.
Carroll, W. M. (1997). Results of third-grade students in a reform
curriculum on the Illinois state mathematics test. Journal for
Research in Mathematics Education, 28(2), 237-242.
Carroll, W. M. (1998a). Geometric knowledge of middle school students
in a reform-based mathematics curriculum. School Science and
Mathematics, 98(4), 188-195.
Carroll, W. M. (1998b). Middle school students' reasoning about
geometric situations. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School,
3(6), 398-403.
Carroll, W. M. (2000). Invented computational procedures of students
in a Standards-based Curriculum. Journal of Mathematical Behavior,
18(2), 111-121.
Carroll, W. M. (2001). Students in a Standards-based mathematics
curriculum: Performance on the 1999 Illinois State Achievement Test.
Illinois Mathematics Teacher, 52(1), 3-7.
Carroll, W. M., Fuson, K. C., & Diamond, A. (2000). Use of
student-constructed number stories in a reform-based curriculum.
Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 19, 49-62.
Carroll, W. M., Isaacs, A. (2003). Achievement of Students Using the
University of Chicago School Mathematics Project's Everyday
Mathematics. In S. L Senk & D. R. Thompson (Eds.) Standards-Based
School Mathematics Curriculum: What Are They? What Do Students Learn?
(pp. 79-108). Mahwah, NJ: Laurence Erlbaum Associates.
Drueck, J. V. (1996). Progression of multidigit addition and
subtraction solution methods in high-, average-, and
low-math-achieving second graders experiencing a reform curriculum.
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational
Research Association, New York.
Fraivillig, J. L. (1996). Case studies and instructional frameworks
of expert reform mathematics teaching (Doctoral dissertation,
Northwestern University). Dissertation Abstracts International,
57(06), 2400.
Fraivillig, J. L. (2001). Strategies for advancing children's
mathematical thinking. Teaching Children Mathematics, 7(8), 454-459.
Fraivillig, J. L., Murphy, L. A., & Fuson, K. C. (1999). Advancing
children's mathematical thinking in Everyday Mathematics classrooms.
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 30(2), 148-170.
Hawkes, M., Kimmelman, P., & Kroeze, D. (1997). Becoming 'first in
the world' in math and science. Phi Delta Kappan, 79(1), 30-33.
Kroeze, D. J., Johnson, D. P., & Zalewski, E. (1997). Achieving
excellence: A report of initial findings of eighth grade performance
from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study: First in
the World Consortium. Oak Brook, IL: North Central Regional
Educational Laboratory.
Murphy, L. A. (1999). Learning and affective issues among higher- and
lower-achieving third-graders in math reform classrooms: perspectives
of children, parents, and teachers (Doctoral disseration,
Northwestern University, 1998). Dissertation Abstracts International,
59(12), 4358.
Riordan, J. E., & Noyce, P. E. (2001). The impact of two
standards-based mathematics curricula on student achievement in
Massachusetts. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 32(4),
Sconiers, S., Isaacs, A., Higgins, T., McBride, J., & Kelso, C. R.
(2003) The ARC center tri-state student achievement study. Lexington,
MA: The Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications.
Waite, R. D. (2000). A study of the effects of Everyday Mathematics
on student achievement of third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students
in a large North Texas Urban School District. Ann Arbor, Michigan:
Woodward, J., & Baxter, J. (1997). The effects of an innovative
approach to mathematics on academically low-achieving students in
inclusive settings. Exceptional Children, 63(3), 373-389.

5. School and District Reports
These reports summarize research conducted by individual schools and
districts. The most important of these studies is Briars and Resnick
(2000). Many of the studies in the Student Achievement Studies
booklets are not particularly "scientific," but they do have high
"face validity" and provide evidence that Everyday Mathematics has a
positive effect on student achievement. (Note: Some of the studies in
the Student Achievement Studies booklets, particularly in Volumes 1
and 4, are not school or district studies. These studies are also
represented in reports in other sections of this bibliography.)
Briars, D. J., & Resnick, L. B. (2000). Standards, assessment-and
what else? The essential elements of standards-based school
improvement [CSE Technical Report 528]. Los Angeles: Center for the
Study of Evaluation, UCLA.
Carroll, W. M., & Fuson, K. C. (1998). A comparison of Everyday Math
(EM) and McMillan (MC) on Evanston student performance on whole-class
tests: Recommendations for revision of Everyday Mathematics Grades 1,
2, 3, and 4. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University.
Everyday Learning Corporation. (1996). Everyday Mathematics: Student
achievement studies. Chicago: Author.
Everyday Learning Corporation. (1998). Everyday Mathematics gets
results: Student achievement studies: Volume 2. Chicago: Author.
Mathematics Evaluation Committee of the Hopewell Valley Regional
School District. (1997). Mathematics evaluation report: Year two.
Pennington, NJ: Hopewell Valley Regional School District.
SRA/McGraw-Hill. (2001). Everyday Mathematics student achievement
studies: Volume 3. Chicago: Author.
SRA/McGraw-Hill. (2003). Everyday Mathematics student achievement
studies: Volume 4. Chicago: Author.

Brenda Brewer

I skimmed and realize you have two children who have struggled with their math experiences and I noted some of your references. However, the eight bullets are so far in left field, I will wait to read a more informed article in the future. Read on, if you will.

I have taught the Everyday Math program for six years in K-4 among students who come with narrow language bases and little experiential background (62% free/reduced lunch FY'05). What I have seen all along has been a growth in language when staff expects the usage with understanding, as well as a love for math among almost every single student, with little exception. Of course, if no one expects the language, we will never have mathematical communications necessary for the future of our students, possible inventions, and problem solving beyond computation and word problems or word stories. Thank goodness, we have raised our expectations since I was a child.

I am delighted so many people are so interested in math. I just wish there were some way of making sure everyone had the facts lined up. Please find a teacher who loves visitors and who uses a program before assuming you understand enough about any program to tear it down. Also, some of your sources are way off base, so I guess that is how you have been misled.

In the final analysis, the individual teacher is the key to the success or failure of any program she/he uses as a guide to train students or adults to think mathematically: the teacher's assessment of students and how each young mind learns must be an integral part of reaching those students; the teacher's training for any math program must be more intense than ever before in order to assess and use the assessment results for the student's benefit rather than just a grade; the teacher's pursuit of his/her own growth in understanding all of the ways students can approach problem solving and computations must go beyond what the district does or does not offer. The teacher is the key.

Visit my school and we will show you what we love about math and how we have grown as professionals over the past six years. Whether we use Everyday Math another six years doesn't matter. We are better teachers because of our experience with the high expectations found in the Everyday Math program now being emulated by publishers hoping to get our textbook funds. Our students will reap the rewards of our improved ability to understand, teach, and guide for understanding.

My e-mail:

Parent Pundit

Here is a question about those Everyday Math studies... if my daughter improves on her 6th grade state tests, will the improvement be attributed to the Everyday Math curriculum? Yes.

Schools don't run like businesses. They don't have baselines. They don't ask how many hours of work or tutoring and in what subjects is done outside of the regular schoolwork.

Parents aren't stupid. Especially parents who have eyes to see when their kids aren't "getting it." Parents act if they have the resources to do so and the knowledge of what to do. Parents are not a herd to be driven by what is best for all if their kids are experiencing less than optimal results.

I'm sharing my personal experiences so other parents can learn and judge for themselves. There are relatively inexpensive fixes out there because the Internet allows us to have so much at our fingertips that it would have been impossible to get at before.

We must be lifelong learners in order to compete in society... and this includes parenting.



We've linked this post at The Carnival Of Education. It can be seen here:


Everyday Math can be a wonderful curriculum. But two things must be present as well. First, teachers must know A LOT about math. EM requires an incredible amount of teacher knowledge, and if your district does not offer excellent professional development, EM will bomb.

Second, our district supplments with computation drills. Mad minutes, 30 problems in 60 seconds.

Both my kids score better in math than ELA. Both are girls.

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