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What Students Notice as Different between Reform and Traditional Mathematics Programs

Jon R. Star, John P. Smith III and Amanda Jansen
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education
Vol. 39, No. 1 (Jan., 2008), pp. 9-32
DOI: 10.2307/30034886
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30034886
Page Count: 24
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What Students Notice as Different between Reform and Traditional Mathematics Programs
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Abstract

Research on the impact of Standards-based mathematics and reform calculus curricula has largely focused on changes in achievement and attitudes, generally ignoring how students experience these new programs. This study was designed to address that deficit. As part of a larger effort to characterize students' transitions into and out of reform programs, we analyzed how 93 high school and college students perceived Standards-based and reform calculus programs as different from traditional ones. Results show considerable diversity across and even within sites. Nearly all students reported differences, but high-impact differences, like Content, were not always related to curriculum type (reform or traditional). Students' perceptions aligned moderately well with those of reform curriculum authors, e.g., concerning Typical Problems. These results show that students' responses to reform programs can be quite diverse and only partially aligned with adults' views.

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