Exploring the Relationship between Rigorous Curriculum Materials and the Development of Ambitious Mathematics Instructional Practices

Hear the findings and perspectives of three projects investigating the impact of and challenges related to teachers’ use of ambitious instructional materials on their knowledge and practice.


This session will focus on implementations of curriculum materials, especially with regard to ambitious mathematics and pedagogy, and participants will consider how materials are interpreted and enacted, and the means of support that facilitate development of ambitious mathematics and pedagogy. Presenters from three DR K-12 projects will share frameworks and findings from their work, followed by participant discussion.

The ERGO project explored teachers’ understanding and use of curriculum materials ostensibly aligned with the CCSS-M. The project analyzed 53 lessons across a range of curriculum and state contexts with respect to mathematical focus, cognitive demand, and emphasis on student explanations, and found a strong association between the type of curriculum materials used and classroom practices.

The MPI Study examined how implementing a mathematical habits of mind curriculum influenced teachers’ practice and knowledge, and to what extent the curriculum was used with fidelity. The project analyzed 22 teachers’ implementation and found variation in curriculum fidelity and instructional quality. For a subset of teachers, dimensions of academic rigor significantly improved by the second year of implementation.

The MIST project investigated how to improve mathematics instruction at scale. MIST districts used NSF developed, inquiry-oriented curricula, but many teachers struggled to implement rigorous tasks to support the learning goals advocated by CCSS-M. The project will share a conceptual framework of school and district supports that constitute a coherent instructional system for supporting instructional improvement in mathematics.

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