Planning for Implementation

Careful consideration should be given to many issues as you study the Core-Plus Mathematics program and plan for an effective implementation of the program. Excerpted below are a selection of entries from Implementing Core-Plus Mathematics. You may wish to access resources related to improving mathematics education from organizations such as the Mathematics Assessment Resource Service (MARS) "Resources for Leaders in Mathematics" (

Studying the CPMP Program
  • Spend time developing goals for your mathematics program that align with various recommendations such as NCTM's Principals and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM, 2000), NCTM's Focus in High School Mathematics, the College Board Standards for College Success: Mathematics and Statistics (2006), the American Diploma Project Standards, and your state mathematics recommendations. This work should involve representatives from all stake-holders in the district. All high school mathematics teachers should be involved at each step of the goal-setting process.

  • Build understanding of your mathematics program goals and a support base from administrators, counselors, parents, board members, business/ community leaders, other departments within your high school and middle school faculty.

  • Form a curriculum study committee to align your district's mathematics program goals across grades K-12. One valuable resource is Choosing a Standards-based Curriculum from the Educational Development Center (EDC:

  • Research and study the Core-Plus Mathematics materials and instructional model as well as other programs. Consider reviewing mathematics programs with high-quality research on student achievement. Curriculum should be seen as a tool to move toward your district mathematics goals.

Advance Planning
  • Assess district technology needs. A graphing calculator with statistics capabilities such as the TI-84 is required for each student. Some districts provide an at-home calculator for each student, as well as an in-class set for each mathematics teacher. The free public-domain software CPMP-Tools has been developed to support student learning and technology needs at home and at school.

  • Create an extended professional development plan that will provide ongoing support for high school, middle school, and special education teachers. Information on course-specific CPMP implementation workshops is available from Glencoe/McGraw-Hill and under Implementation. On-site professional development programs can be designed to meet district needs.

  • Consider providing cooperative learning, technology, literacy, and alternative assessment workshop opportunities for mathematics teachers before they attend curriculum implementation workshops or begin teaching the curriculum.

  • Begin adoption with Course 1 and add a course level each year. Encourage teachers to progress from Course 1 to Course 4 in stages, so they can develop an understanding of the growth of mathematical ideas across the curriculum.

  • Schedule classes to allow for common planning periods for teachers teaching the same course.

  • Formulate a plan to evaluate your mathematics program and the results of changes made. Plan to collect data over the long term, not just the year or two before and the year or two after the changes. (See examples of evaluations.)

  • Produce a Frequently Asked Questions document containing your district's responses to local questions so that there are common responses from administrators, mathematics teachers, counselors, science teachers, and school office staff.

  • Consider how district and individual teacher decisions can affect the amount of material taught each year. In particular, time should be spent aligning middle and high school mathematics programs to maximize student learning.

  • Consider ways to align with your state mathematics standards and to polish skills using the practice sets and review tasks in each lesson and the practice sets available in the Unit Resource Masters.

  • Provide opportunities for instructional leaders, particularly building principals, to understand the goals of the mathematics program and discuss ways to promote effective classroom instruction. One professional development option for teams from the school is the Lenses on Learning courses offered by the Educational Development Center. See

If your district has a history of enrolling strong eighth-grade students in an algebra course, you may wish to maintain an accelerated program using Core-Plus Mathematics Course 1 for select eighth-graders. These students could then enroll in AP Calculus as seniors upon completing Course 4 as juniors. Students can enroll in AP Statistics anytime after completion of Course 3.
     Consider ways to schedule classes to allow for individual students to accelerate themselves. The following is a list of options that some districts implementing Core-Plus Mathematics have successfully used in cases in which accelerated students have not studied Course 1 as eighth-graders. Acceleration models employed by CPMP schools to allow enrollment in Advanced Placement Calculus or Statistics include the following.

  • Teach Core-Plus Mathematics Course 1 in middle school for selected eighth graders.

  • Provide eighth-grade students enrolled in the grade level mathematics course additional mathematics material from Core-Plus Mathematics Course 1 that will allow them to enroll in Course 2 in ninth grade. This can be done during the academic year or in a summer program.

  • Strong incoming ninth graders who have completed one of the NSF-funded middle school mathematics programs, or an algebra course, could be enrolled in Course 2. Prerequisite material from Course 1 can be distributed throughout the school year as needed for particular Course 2 units or taught in a summer course.

  • In schools with semester block scheduling, a student could enroll in two courses in a given year.

  • In schools with alternate-day academic-year block schedules, the schedule could be adjusted for one or more classes of a course to meet each day for the entire school year, thus covering two of Courses 1-4 that year.

  • In schools with academic-year schedules, two mathematics classes may be scheduled back-to-back to allow study of one course in the first semester and the next course the second semester.

  • A student could choose to double up on classes as a senior by enrolling in both Course 4 and AP Statistics.

Access, Equity, and Differentiation
One question frequently asked by districts adopting Core-Plus Mathematics is related to equity and approaches to accommodate the program for special-needs students.
     Several research studies have provided evidence that introducing activities through class discussion, teaching students to explain and justify, and making real-world contexts accessible to students promote greater access and equity in mathematics classrooms. (Boaler, J. "Learning from Teaching: Exploring the Relationship Between Reform Curriculum and Equity," Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 2002, Vol. 33, No. 4, 239-258, and Brown, C.A., Stein, M.K., and Forman, E. A. "Assisting Teachers and Students to Reform Their Mathematics Classroom," Educational Studies in Mathematics, 1996, 31-93). Practices that help promote equity are briefly discussed below.

Introducing Investigations Through Class Discussions Group and class discussions of the aim of investigations, the meaning of contexts, the challenging points within problems, and possible problem access points to which students might turn make tasks more evenly accessible to all students.

Teaching Students to Explain and Justify their Thinking Giving explicit attention to explaining thinking and evaluating what makes a good piece of work helps students improve their work.

Making Real-world Contexts Accessible Considering the constraints that real situations involve and connecting these situations with issues and topics in their own lives helps students view mathematics as something that will help them interpret their world.

Other Practices that Promote Equity Mixed-ability classes, a focus on problems solving, high expectations for all students, attention to a broad array of mathematical topics, and allowing students to restate problems in their own words also appear to help students from different racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups be more successful in mathematics.
     Core-Plus Mathematics offers many opportunities for teachers to incorporate these practices into daily routines. One such built-in opportunity is the Think About This Situations (TATS) used to introduce lessons through discussions. Although no TATS questions are in the student text for individual investigations there are often suggestions in the Teacher's Guide for class launches of investigations. Since much of the mathematical content is based on real contexts, it is important that all students understand the contexts and draw on their own or a classmates background knowledge. Opportunities for students to explain and justify their thinking are built into all curriculum features. Look for opportunities to encourage the habit of mind of justifying their thinking, individually and in small group or class discussions.
     In addition, in the Teacher's Guide periodically, notes provide specific ideas for differentiation. Look for DIFFERENTIATION margin notes and student masters.
     It is important to recognize that implementing the Core-Plus Mathematics curriculum with classes consisting only of students previously unsuccessful in mathematics will create additional implementation challenges. These classes should not be expected to complete all units from a CPMP course.
     Some schools provide special-needs students with a second hour of class devoted to support. This class typically follows the regular mathematics class. During this class time, students are assisted with their homework and sometimes pre-read material for the next day's class period. This support for special-needs students increases the access to the mathematics content during the regular class period.

As one special education teacher indicated:
"I have been teaching the CPMP in a resource setting for the past 2 years and have been teaching mathematics in the resource setting for over 8 years. I have to admit that initially I was adamant that my students (the majority have specific learning disabilities either with respect to math or reading) would be incapable of using this program. After 2 years, I have found that the opposite is true.
     My students are more engaged and achieving higher-level concepts because of CPMP. We do move at a slower pace, but they are learning the concepts of Algebra and Geometry thanks to the contextual component and the guided discovery approach. The program also provides ample opportunities to differentiate instruction. I am fortunate to work in a district where the staff received excellent training and we have access to technology. Overall, the students are doing well. I am looking forward to the training for Course 3.
     Core-Plus Mathematics is definitively a program that works well for students with learning disabilities."


Publisher Contact Information
For review copies of Courses 1, 2, 3, and 4 (Preparation for Calculus) student and teacher materials, contact your McGraw-Hill representative. You may wish to request the CCSS Guide to Core-Plus Mathematics and the Implementing Core-Plus Mathematics guide to aid in your review and/or implementation of the program.

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