Big Cities Credit Conceptual Math for Higher Scores

January 11, 2006

An article in Education Week published today attributes significant improvements in Boston's math scores to the implementation of a conceptual mathematics program, which includes the TERC-developed curriculum, Investigations in Number, Data, and Space.

The article states, "The two city districts that made the greatest strides in math on the latest national assessment relied on similar strategies: building students' conceptual math skills and investing in professional development in that subject for elementary and middle school teachers. While administrators in Boston and San Diego say that many factors were at work in their gains on the recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, they believe their approach is giving students greater ability to solve a broad variety of math problems and preparing them for more complex mathematics later in school."

Boston's deputy superintendent for teaching and learning, J. Chris Coxon, is quoted as saying, "It's not enough to memorize algorithms. If [schools] are going to be successful in teaching math, they have to be open to students' using different ways of solving math problems."

The article also emphasizes teacher professional development as a key element to the two cities' success. Mr. Coxon states, "Teacher training is pretty much the cornerstone of whether we'll be successful."

Education Week paid subscribers or registered guests can find the article online here.