This project has two goals:
1) to discover methods that can efficiently obtain information about the effects of high school programs on eventual college success. Methods we are considering include obtaining transcripts from post-secondary institutions, surveying high school graduates, and obtaining information from the National Student Clearinghouse.
2) to explore how students who studied Contemporary Mathematics in Context (Core Plus) or the Integrated Mathematics Program (IMP) fare in post secondary institutions.
One important measure of a high school mathematics program's effectiveness is their graduates? success in post-secondary math courses and more generally their success in obtaining post-secondary degrees. This study will utilize two approaches to collect data that explores questions pertaining to students? actual post-secondary preparedness. The first approach will follow students forward from high school and analyze their college transcripts. This approach has proven successful in development of national data bases such as the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS 88). The second approach will collect data from the set of Institutions of Higher Education to which 50% or more students from the studied high schools matriculate. Both approaches will improve on prior research, which has either, a) reported case studies of small numbers of students, generally without comparison groups, b) relied on self-reports by student volunteers, or c) analyzed the impact of a high school program by reporting achievement of students at a single university, to which only a small proportion of the high school's graduates matriculate. The proposed study would begin to fill a serious gap in the mathematics community's knowledge about how NSF sponsored curriculum materials affect students. The proposed study will also provide school districts and researchers with practical and immediately useful knowledge about valid techniques for data collection. Analyzing college transcripts provides more complete data than does collecting summary data from college registrars. However, analyzing students? transcripts is more expensive and time-consuming. This study will determine if the summary data provided by college registrars from the subset of colleges which account for at least 50% of a high school?s graduates produces valid conclusions that are similar to the conclusions produced by analyzing transcripts from a random sample of all graduates. These results will have broad impact on assessing mathematics curricula.