Against Connected Math Program (CMP)
Connected Math is Investigations ugly Middle School cousin, and it has been rearing it’s ugly head in PWC Middle Schools.
According to Dr. James Milgram, “The program seems to be based on students constructing their own knowledge and that calculators always be available. This means that
- standard algorithms are never introduced, not even for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions.
- precise definitions are never given.
- repetitive practice for developing skills, such as basic manipulative skills is never given. Consequently, in the seventh and eighth grade booklets on algebra, there is no development of the standard skills needed to solve linear equations, no practice with simplifying polynomials or quotients of polynomials, no discussion of things as basic as the standard exponent rules.
- topics are introduced, usually in a single problem and indirectly.
- On probability and data analysis a huge amount of time is spent learning rather esoteric methods for representing data, such as stem and leaf plots, and very little attention is paid to topics like the use and misuse of statistics. Statistics, in and of itself, is not that important in terms of mathematical development. The main reason it is in the curriculum is to provide students with the means to understand common uses of statistics and to be able to understand when statistical arguments are being used correctly.
Dr Milgram’s detailed study of CMP, An Evaluation of CMP, can be found here.
Connected Math has no discernible effect on student performance.
So says the What Works Clearinghouse, a division of the US Dept. of Education, in this study.
Connected Math isn’t approved by the VA DOE
Connected Math isn’t approved by the VA Dept. of Education for use in Grades 6 or 8. While that doesn’t prohibit PWCS from using the program, it does make adopting it as a primary text a more complicated process, assuming the county decides to actually follow state law in selecting the program. As we saw with Investigations, PWCS staff don’t seem to believe that state statutes actually apply to them, so we should assume they’ll do whatever they can to ensure CMP is selected for use in PWCS Middle Schools.
More Studies on Connected Math
According to this study, by the US Dept. of Education, only 14% of studies conducted on Connected math meet their standards for reliability, and the 14% meet those standards with reservations.
Work Harder – Learn Less. This is the conclusion of Arthur Hu in his assessment of 6th Grade Connected Math, which was published in the October 2003 issue of Education News. Hu goes on to state that “I am shocked to realize that the Dale Seymour “Connected Mathematics” is just as harmful for middle school as “Investigations” is for elementary school. It carries on the tradition of nightly homework that is a) hard to figure out b) takes forever to do once you figure it out c) after you’re done you haven’t learned any useful math d) it goes out of the way to make sure the #1 most important method to know is not taught, or allowed.”
Prof. Man Yee Betty Tsang, National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, Michigan State University, has completed a number of reviews and assessments of Connected Math. Reviews for each CMP book are below: