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Topic: Project 2061 evaluations of curricula
Replies: 4   Last Post: Aug 19, 2000 6:24 PM

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Guy Brandenburg

Posts: 714
Registered: 12/3/04
Project 2061 evaluations of curricula
Posted: Aug 18, 2000 1:20 PM
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A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I thought project 2061 had done a good
job on evaluating textbooks recently. (Of course, that evaluation was
panned in a typical knee-jerk manner by a certain self-styled
educational expert.) In any case, I thought it might be of use to see
what Project 2016/AAAS has to say about the categories, so here I have
retyped the major headings and ideas of their evaluation process. Any
typos are my own.

To repeat, I think they did a good job, and I think these ideas that can
be shared and used by all math teachers and teacher-educators.

Guy Brandenburg

Category I: Identifying a sense of purpose

I.1 Conveying Unit purpose: Does the material convey an overall sense of
purpose and direction that is understandable and motivating to students?
I.2 Conveying lesson purpose: does the material convey the purpose of
each lesson or activity and its relationship to others?
I.3 Justifying sequence of activities: does the material involve
students in a logical or strategic sequence of activites (versus a
collection of activities) that build toward understanding of the ideas
in the unit or chapter purpose?

Category II: Building on student ideas about mathematics.

II.1 Specifying prerequisite knowledge. Does the material specify
prerequisite knowledge/skills that are necessary to the learning of the
II.2 Alerting teacher to student ideas. Does the material alert teachers
to commonly-held student ideas (both troublesome and helpful) such as
those described in "Benchmarks for Science Literacy", chapter 15 -- "The
research base"?
II.3 Assisting teacher in identifying ideas. Does the material include
suggestions to teachers to find out what their students think about
familiar situations related to a benchmark before the mathematical ideas
are introduced?
II.4 Addressing misconceptions. Does the material explicitly address
commonly held student ideas?

Category III: Engaging students in mathematics.

III.1 Providing variety of contexts. Does the material provide
experiences with mathematics in multiple, different contexts?
III.2 Providing firsthand experiences. Does the material include
activities that promote firsthand experiences with the benchmark ideas,
when practical?

Category IV: Developing mathematical ideas.

IV.1 Justifying importance of benchmark ideas. Does the material suggest
ways to help students develop a sense of the importance and validity of
mathematical concepts or procedures?
IV.2 Introducing terms and procedures. Does the material introduce terms
and procedures only in conjunction with experience with them and only as
needed to facilitate thinking and propote effective communication?
IV.3 Representing ideas accurately. Does the material include accurate
and comprehensible representations of mathematical concepts, procedures,
and relationships?
IV.4. Connecting benchmark ideas. Does the material explicitly draw
attention to appropriate connections among benchmark ideas?
IV.5 Demonstrating/Modeling procedures. Does the material
demonstrate/model (or include suggestions for teachers on how to
demonstrate/model) skills or the use of knowledge?
IV.6 Providing practice. Does the material provide tasks or questions
for students to practice skills or use knowledge in a variety of

Category V: Promoting student thinking about mathematics.

V.1 Encouraging students to explain their reasoning. Does the material
routinely include suggestions for having each student express, clarify,
justify, and represent his/her ideas and how to get feedback from peers
and the teacher?
V.2 Guiding interpretation and reasoning. Does the material include
tasks and/or question sequences that guide student interpretation and
reasoning about benchmark concepts, skills, and relationships?
V.3 Encouraging students to think about what they've learned. Does the
material suggest ways to have students check their own progress?

Category VI: Assessing student progress in mathematics.

VI.1 Aligning Assessment. Are assessment items or tasks included that
match the ideas, concepts, or skills of the benchmark?
VI.2 Assessing through applications. Does the material include
assessment tasks that require application of benchmark ideas, concepts,
or skills and avoid allowing students a trivial way out, like using a
formula or repeating a memorized term or rule without understanding?
VI.3 Using embedded assessment. Are some assessments embedded in the
curriculum along the way, with advice to teachers as to how they might
use the results to choose to modify activities?

Category VII: Enhancing the mathematics learning environment.

VII.1 Providing teacher content support. Does the material help teachers
improve their understanding of mathematics and its applications?
VII.2 Establishing a challenging classroom. Does the material help
teachers to create a classroom environment that welcomes student
curiosity, rewards creativity, encourages a spirit of healthy
questioning, and avoids rigidity?
VII.3 Supporting all students. Does the material help teachers to create
a classroom that encourages high expectations for all students, enables
all students to experience success, and provides all students a feeling
of belonging in the mathematics classroom?

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