Evidence of Success – Then vs. Now


The PWCS web site includes a link to “Success in Other School Districts”, a report prepared by Investigations publisher which claims success in approximately 70 school districts across the country with Math Investigations.

One parent set out to independently verify those success stories and see how Investigations was doing in those districts. The following is the result of this parent’s research.

NOTE:  The statistics  on this page have been updated as more responses have come in from school districts.


Independent Survey of School Districts Claimed as Evidence of Investigations Success in 2007

The 2007 list of Investigations “Success Stories”  provided 70 school districts which, according to the publisher, had “experienced great success with Math Investigations”. Contacts with each school district resulted in the following:

  • 62 of 70 districts responded
  • 36 of those 62 have discontinued use or are in the process of discontinuing the use of Investigations (58% of districts responding)

The most common reasons cited for dropping Investigations were

  • inadequate alignment with state standards
  • large size of district made fidelity of implementation and ongoing professional development difficult
  • flat lined or declining math and reading scores
  • budgetary concerns with the need to hire math coaches / specialists at each school, extensive professional development requirements, and high materials costs

Twenty-Six districts report continued use of Investigations. Of those 26:

  • 17 are Title I districts and receive NSF funding or other grants for continued implementation of the curricula (65% of responding districts still using Investigations)
  • 8 use Investigations as their primary text with supplemental materials from other sources to fill gaps in content
  • 2 use Investigations without supplementation
  • 7 use Investigations as a supplement to other materials

The following trends were noted among responding districts still using Investigations either as a primary or supplemental text:

  • many of these districts were small with fewer than 10 elementary schools making fidelity of implementation and support easier
  • the teacher / student ratio in these district was quite low with average class sizes of 15 – 20 students
  • many of the districts believe they needed to increase instructional time by 10 – 15 minutes per days for math because of Investigations
  • grant monies were used by an increasing percentage of school districts to fund Investigations – especially in areas with a high percentage of title 1 schools

The full report can be found here


6 Responses to “Evidence of Success – Then vs. Now”

  1. Ed Says:

    71% have dropped it entirely? Are you serious?
    There’s not much doubt about how bad the program it.

    Let’s hope the board can see beyond the politics.

    It doesn’t say how she verified what they were doing. Can you confirm how she checked what happened?

  2. pwceducationreform Says:

    The parent contacted each school district in writing or by phone and received responses back from 38 of the original 66. She spoke with administrators, curriculum leads, principals, and other central office staff from each of these school districts.

  3. Ed Says:

    Pretty damning; I hope the school board sees this; it not just us, it’s most of the school districts that have implemented it. I hope they spot that it only has any benefit in smaller school districts with small classes. And ours are going to be getting bigger..

  4. ajax1992 Says:

    ‘Fidelity of implementation’, ‘Constructivism’ and ‘Success for all’ are examples of unspeak used by reformers to identify themselves with other movement supporters.

    It is not necessarily a reference to any particular pedagogy or ‘teaching method?’. This method of identifying other members closely parallels methods used by ‘cryptics’ to mislead victims into joining cults.

    A ‘constructivist lesson plan?’ is a crude attempt by leaders at removing critics and agitators within the group.

    For example, very few teachers can write or say more than a sentence seriously explaining constructivism. So then how can you describe something that has no meaning?

    Reformers are cult followers – they follow their own truth – and its to the detriment of all others.


    […] a latter note. This is the old file that is referenced in the  pwceducationreform.com summary (see here). There was an update being done today to include feedback from some of the 19 districts that whose […]

  6. PWCS Lies, Lies, and More Lies « PWC Education Reform Blog Says:

    […] TERC’s much touted “Evidence of Success” includes a list of school districts using Investigations with great success. To bad more than 60% of them have dropped or are dropping Investigations. […]

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