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Reform curricula are educationally disastrous

The vast majority of refereed research contradicts this statement. Nonetheless, as in any complex issue it is possible to find data supporting almost any position. Basically, everything in any comparative study depends on the outcome measures. The simplest analogy: imagine two foreign language programs, one of which focuses on grammar and the other of which includes grammar but teaches people to speak the language. Send people to the foreign country, and you'll see who'll cope better. But, give a grammar test, and guess which program looks better? The mathematical equivalent of a grammar test is one that tests skills only. Data based on such tests are often used as ammunition against Reform curricula. For an in-depth analysis of one such source of data, an article by Alan Schoenfeld provides many insights - What Doesn't Work: The Challenge and Failure of the What Works Clearinghouse to Conduct Meaningful Reviews of Studies of Mathematics Curricula [PDF format].


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