TERC Investigations

Against TERC Investigations

To help you with your research, this page contains links to articles, studies, and reports about TERC Investigations. The information contained here is not limited to Investigations; it includes studies, reports, and analysis of the Connected Math program currently sneaking it’s way into our Middle Schools and reform math in general.

Much of this material paints a different picture of the program than that which you will find on the PWCS or publisher’s web sites.

This page will be updated periodically as more studies are released.

TERC Students Don’t Learn Math  That’s the conclusion of an internal committee tasked with assessing mathematics instruction in Frederick County Maryland’s public elementary schools.

Three Years of TERC – Where are the Problems After three years of TERC PWC students are struggling in some key content areas. This article details those problems.

STOP TERC details the problems with the approach TERC takes to teaching basic skills to elementary students, including their recommendation that calculators be used for “tedious problems” like the typical 4th and 5th grade students will encounter.

TERC 2008 to the 2009 VA SOLs
The article lists the areas where the 2008 edition of TERC Investigations falls short of meeting the 2009 revision of the Virginia Standards of Learning. Teachers may want to consider reading this article to see where they’ll need to supplement their lessons to that what they teach their students meets state standards and PWCS officials may want to beef up the budget for copying, because there’s going to be lots of copying going on.

What Investigations Teachers Really Think
All of the studies and all of the research don’t reveal as much about the problem with Investigations than does this one article. It’s called “Tidy Math Fan”, was written by an Investigations teacher from Raleigh NC, and is available on the TERC web site. The disdain with which this teacher holds our children is quite evident.

Links to  Studies Demonstrating that Investigations Stinks at Teaching Math

The Institute Of Education Sciences has released the first portion of it’s report on the effectiveness of four different elementary mathematics curricula and found that Investigations is ineffective at teaching math.

In addition, the IES concluded that “No studies of Investigations in Number, Data, and Space® that fall within the scope of the Elementary School Math review protocol meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards. The lack of studies meeting WWC evidence standards means that, at this time, the WWC is unable to draw any conclusions based on research about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of Investigations in Number, Data, and Space®”.   Amazing isn’t it – even the US Department of Education finds that TERC’s studies of it’s math program’s effectiveness are bogus.

And don’t forget our own study exposing how false TERC’s “Evidence of Success” is.

Links to Testimony from Mathematicians about Investigations

Dr Stephen Wilson is professor of mathematics at JHU in Baltimore, served as a senior advisor for Math to the US Dept of Education in 2006, was one of the contributing authors of the Fordham Foundation’s report “The State of the State Mathematics Standards”, and served on the committee revising Washington State’s K-12 mathematics standards. In public testimony before the Frederick County MD school board in June of 2008, Dr Wilson stated the following regarding TERC Investigations “I am not really here today to talk to the Board, but to the parents. If your child goes to a school that uses TERC Investigations, you should understand that it means your child’s school has abdicated its responsibility to teach your child mathematics. By doing so, the responsibility now rests with the parents. Good luck.” Click here to read his full review of various mathematics curricula, including TERC Investigations. Click here for a transcript of his testimony before the Frederick County School Board and a synopsis of his review of Investigations.

Dr. Bill Quirk is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from The New Mexico State University. Over a span of 8 years, he taught 26 different courses in math and computer science at Penn State, Northern Illinois University, and Jacksonville University. His report, “TERC Hands On Math:The Truth is in the Details”is widely considered one of the more detailed and damning assessments of TERC’s content. Dr. Quirk’s subsequent report, “2008 TERC Math vs. 2008 NMP Recommendations” is considered one of the most damning assessments of TERC’s updated version and it’s compliance with the NMP recommendations.

Thomas Parker, professor of Mathematics at Michigan State University, says this, “TERC students will hit a wall, probably at the end of middle school. They are not being given the grounding needed to understand the abstractions of high school algebra and geometry. Their options for careers in science and technology are being closed off by their elementary school program. “, and this, “It [TERC] is about two years behind where it should be” in this assessment of TERC Investigations.

Wilfried Schmid, Dwight Parker Robinson Professor of Mathematics at Harvard stated the following in testimony regarding TERC Investigations, “A TERC teacher doesn’t explain, and a TERC teacher doesn’t teach! I don’t want to be misunderstood: group learning and discovery learning are parts of the tool chest of every accomplished teacher, but it is folly to turn these techniques into an ideology. If we mathematicians had to re-discover mathematics on our own, we would not get very far! And indeed, TERC does not get very far. By the end of fifth grade, TERC students have fallen roughly two years behind where they should be.”

TERC Investigation’s authors claim to have research to back up their assertions about learning and the curriculum. This report questions the methodology and conclusions cited by TERC’s authors.

Several videos have also been developed demonstrating some of the shortcomings of TERC’s program, including Math Education:An Inconvenient Truth and Math with Madeline.

Still want more? Check out this link for more studies and reports exposing the deficiencies in the TERC Investigations program.

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