At least according to the independent research conducted by the Institute of Education Sciences.
The survey looked at four elementary mathematics curricula – Saxon, Math Expressions, Investigations, and SFAW. Among the conclusions noted are:
- Student math achievement was significantly higher in schools assigned to Math Expressions and Saxon, than in schools assigned to Investigations and SFAW.
- Math achievement in the two more effective curricula was not significantly different, nor was math achievement in schools assigned to the less effective curricula.
The researchers sought to determine whether the different curricula perfromed better under different circumstances – for instance was one more effective in districts with large portions of students on free and reduced lunches, or did large amounts of teacher professional development play a role in student performance. The researchers found that there were no instances where Investigations or SFAW demonstrated a statistical advantage over Saxon or Math Expressions.
Perhaps that explains why TERC needed an NSF grant to develop their curricula, an NSF grant to develop programs to market and sell their curricula to school districts, an NSF grant to develop program to convince parents of how wonderful the curricula is, an NSF grant to develop a program whereby teachers become TERC Math Specialists, and multiple NSF grants to help school districts pay for the curricula. See, if the program was effective at all schools would be clamoring to buy it. Since it isn’t effective and no independent, verifiable studies have ever been conducted to demonstrate it’s effectiveness, TERC had to find a different way to sell their curricula. They found it when the NSF ponied up taxpayer money to develop the program, market it to school districts, pay for teacher professional development, and purchase the instructional materials. Why else would any school distrcit choose to a substandard program like Investigations – unless it was free?
You can find the entire study here.