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When the original NCTM Standards for Curriculum and Evaluation were published, the National Science Foundation (NSF) realized the need to create projects that would develop curriculum based on the Standards. (To review information about the Standards, visit http://www.nctm.org). The NSF funded STREAM to create materials designed to meet two goals. The first is to inform interested parties about the issues of reform and related changes in the secondary mathematics classroom. The second is to familiarize STREAM participants with the five major NSF-funded high school curriculum projects. These projects and their resulting text series are:

Project Resulting Text Series

Applications and Reform in Secondary Education


Mathematics: Modeling Our World http://www.comap.com



Core-Plus Mathematics Project


Contemporary Mathematics in Context http://www.wmich.edu/cpmp/

Everyday learning


Interactive Mathematics Project


Interactive Mathematics Program


Key Curriculum Press


Systemic Initiative for Montana Mathematics and Science


Integrated Mathematics: A Modeling Approach Using Technology http://www.montana.edu/wwwsimms/

Simon and Schuster Custom Publishing


Math Connections Project


Math Connections: A Secondary Mathematics Core Curriculum http://www.mathconnections.com

It’s About Time

Through facilitator-guided discussions and activities based on excerpts from these programs, math teachers as STREAM participants begin to form opinions about which program’s mathematics curriculum would be appropriate for their educational setting. They also examine how the programs effect reform changes in content, pedagogy, modeling, technology, and assessment called for by the the NCTM Standards. To summarize changes in these major areas, which appear in varying degrees in the five programs:


All five of the projects have made some adjustments in the traditional mathematical content. In brief, there is a decreased emphasis on symbolic analysis and an increased emphasis on numerical analysis and discrete mathematics, including statistics and probability. Also, the order of mathematics topics has been changed in many cases. Some topics that are traditionally dealt with in years 3 or 4 of a curriculum have been moved to years 2 or 3. There is more emphasis on the process of discovering which mathematics, or combination of mathematics, to apply to solve a problem.


The projects include more opportunities for cooperative learning. Students frequently work in groups and teams, as well as individually, to discover key mathematical ideas. The teacher acts as a facilitator in many cases. Experiments and activities often stretch over a period of days, rather than a more standard lesson-per-day approach.


In general, the goal is to have students begin with problems relevant to their lives and develop and test their own solution models by collecting and analyzing data. The use of data from real-life situations varies from program to program.


To increase technology literacy, graphing calculators are an integral part of all of the programs. Some programs suggest that students have access to computers as well. Software packages such as spreadsheets and geometric exploration tools are embedded in the activities. In most cases, when this is done, alternative approaches are provided if the hardware or software is not available.


Assessment is much broader than in more traditional programs. Assessment is on-going and encompasses student presentations, portfolios, group work analysis, and experiment write-ups (varying from program-to-program).