College prep math ‘detrimental’ to learning

To the Editor:

New Empirical Evidence proves that CPM instruction is detrimental to student’s learning. Parents have been requesting data to prove the effectiveness and success of College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM), which is being used to teach Algebra I this year in the Fairfield Public School District.

Fairfield administrators have provided no independent evidence. Instead, parents have been provided non-statistical and invalid support of CPM’s effectiveness.

Repeatedly, parents have been telling administrators that their children are struggling and outside tutoring is needed. Due to lack of response, an ever growing group of parents have diligently researched this math program and made inquiries in other districts that at one time used this program (CPM).

Through “self-discovery” and “perseverance,” parents were recently sent a new empirical study that was published by a superintendent in Illinois. He completed a statistical analysis of the CPM curriculum for the Zion-Benton High School Class of 2014 using ACT’s Educational Planning and Assessment System. This study is consistent with articles and studies repeatedly demonstrating CPM’s shortcomings and failures, since introduced almost 20 years ago in California.

With a cohort of Zion-Benton High School students, who strictly used CPM, this longitudinal study found the following:

Entering freshman year, 39.3% of the students were meeting college readiness benchmarks. We all know this number should improve as they move students through high school math. However at Zion-Benton High School, the opposite occurred. In their Sophomore year, the percentage meeting college readiness benchmarks dropped by 11%. By junior year, the percentage meeting college readiness benchmarks dropped another 10%. After two years of CPM math, only 18.7% were meeting these benchmarks.

The conclusion: CPM instruction negatively impacted student performance. CPM lowered test scores, as well as widened the gap among students, as proven through an increase in the standard deviation. Most, if not all, of these students will need some sort of remediation prior to entering pre-calculus or calculus.

The main findings of this report are that student exposure to CPM curriculum does not result in improved college readiness performance over the two years examined. In fact, the gap doubles during the freshman year and quadruples during the sophomore year between Zion-Benton High School students’ performance and college readiness benchmarks.

The BOE refused to remove CPM in December, administrators admitted an error in the roll out of CPM with no remediation and now more time has passed. At this point, it is time for accountability in Central Office. Through various FOIA requests, it has been found that the administrators rushed to purchase and implement CPM without proper due diligence.


Dawn Llewellyn


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