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Math grades studied

9 – 12

Core-Plus Mathematics Project

Essa Rating
No. Studies
No. Students
Average Effect Size

Program Description

Core-Plus Mathematics is a problem-based, inquiry-oriented four-year integrated mathematics curriculum for all high school students, grades 9-12. That is, instead of organizing content into Algebra, Algebra II, and Geometry, for example, Core-Plus Mathematics organizes each course around connected strands of algebra/functions, geometry/trigonometry, statistics/probability, and discrete mathematics. Part of the purpose is to focus instruction on objectives held to be most important for students whether they are going on to college or to careers, and to avoid cutting off options for students, as happens when for example students’ progression in math is blocked when they do not get to algebra on time. Instruction focuses on problem solving and mathematical modeling with a balanced treatment of concepts and procedures. Teachers in the qualifying studies received up to a total of two weeks of professional development before school opening and periodically during the school year to develop an understanding of the curriculum organization, content progressions, and associated instructional and assessment strategies.

Program Outcomes

In the qualifying studies, students in Core-Plus Mathematics had the opportunity to choose to participate in the integrated sequence or in traditional courses. Because of this, all these studies matched students within schools, usually on 8th grade standardized tests. Students were then tested each year on a math subscale of the Iowa Test of Educational Development that focuses on mathematical thinking and problem solving. On the ITED, one out of four studies found significant positive outcomes but this was sufficient to qualify Core-Plus Mathematics for the ESSA “Moderate” category. The weighted overall mean was an effect size of +0.08.

Staffing Requirements

Teachers with High School teacher certification in mathematics

Professional Development/Training

Ideally a 5-day summer workshop prior to implementation and at least 2 PD days during the first year


Graphing calculators and CPMP-Tools (or similar mathematical software tools)