Like many math teachers over the last three decades, Al Cuoco of the Center for Mathematics Education (CME) was dissatisfied with most of the commercially available curricula. For the past five years, he has worked “to create the mathematics texts I always yearned for.”
Cuoco directs the CME Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, which is a series of high school textbooks that aim to bring coherence to high school mathematics. The problem, he says, is that traditional texts follow an accepted structure and progression—algebra, geometry, advanced algebra, and precalculus—but they do not integrate lessons across topics and chapters. Progressive texts may challenge students, but they organize material in unfamiliar ways.
“In too many classrooms, mathematics is taught as disconnected facts and procedures, as knowledge to be learned in the same manner as terms memorized for a vocabulary test,” says Cuoco.
Rather than presenting disjointed topics—from graphing equations to triangle trigonometry to complex numbers—without connecting themes, these new texts present ideas thoroughly and revisit them later to deepen students’ understanding of them and their connection with other ideas.
The program not only builds on lessons from high-performing countries but also employs the best American models that encourage students to grapple with ideas and problems as preparation for instruction.
The new texts will be available this fall from Pearson Prentice Hall.
Originally published on May 1, 2007