Reviews of CMP: Connected Mathematics Project (Connected Math)

Basic Information and Introduction

The Connected Math curriculum for grades 6-8 was and continues to be developed by the Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) at Michigan State University, and is marketed by Prentice Hall. The authors of the CMP program are James T. Fey, William M. Fitzgerald, Susan N. Friel, Glenda Lappan, and Elizabeth Difanis Phillips; Glenda Lappan is often listed as the principal author of the program. The CMP web site is

The student texts for Connected Math are eight booklets for each of the Grades 6-8. For each CMP booklet there is also an extensive teacher guide. The Connected Mathematics teacher material adds up to about one thousand pages for each of the three grades.

Content Reviews

An Evaluation of CMP, by R. James Milgram (1999). This is a detailed content review of Connected Mathematics. It also pays attention to the research base of some claims concerning success of the CMP program. Excerpts: "Overall, the program seems to be very incomplete, and I would judge that it is aimed at underachieving students rather than normal or higher achieving students. [...] The philosophy used throughout the program is that the students should entirely construct their own knowledge and that calculators are to always be available for calculation. This means that standard algorithms are never introduced, not even for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions; precise definitions are never given; repetitive practice for developing skills, such as basic manipulative skills is never given; throughout the booklets, topics are introduced [basic topics] and then are dropped, never to be mentioned again; in the booklets on probability and data analysis a huge amount of time is spent learning rather esoteric methods for representing data..." Professor Milgram develops these criticisms in detail.

Mathematically Correct Seventh Grade Mathematics Review of Connected Mathematics Program (1999?). One of a series of comparative reviews of Seventh Grade mathematics curricula. Searching for content the reviewers find that there is little or no coverage of the properties of arithmetic; exponents, squares, and roots; fractions, decimals, and percents; and the book is devoid of algebraic manipulation. The only mathematical content that the reviewers find relates to Proportions and to Graphing. The reviewers write: "There is very little mathematical content in this book. Students leaving this course will have no background in or facility with analytic or pre-algebra skills. [...] This book is completely dedicated to a constructivist philosophy of learning, with heavy emphasis on discovery exercises and rejection of whole class teacher directed instruction. [...] Students are busy, but they are not productively busy. Most of their time is directed away from true understanding and useful skills."

Mathematically Correct Mathematics Program Reviews Comparative Summary for Seventh Grade. Here the Mathematically Correct team provides their summary evaluation of the eleven texts that were considered. Two of the eleven are rated as not suitable in any context for reasons of both content and pedagogy, and Connected Mathematics is rated worst of the lot and receives the only unambiguous "F". They judge that CMP and the next lowest ranked program, McDougal Littell Math Thematics, are unlikely to allow any significant number of students to meet the criteria for even pre-pre-Algebra.

Links Related to CMP, by Dr. Betty Tsang. In addition to the links already referenced above Betty Tsang provides her own brief commentary on each of the eight units for both the 6th and the 7th grade CMP program, and of the Algebra coverage in CMP. There are also links concerning the research base of CMP and links related to parent activism against Connected Math in Dr. Tsang's Okemos, WI, school district.

A comprehensive as[s]essment of CMP (Connected Math Program) deficiencies leading to supplementation that meets key traditional educational needs. An independent learning project presented by Donald Wartonick towards the degree of Master of Education in the field of Mathematics Education at Cambridge College, Cambridge, MA; Fall, 2005.

Additional commentary and local activism

Presentation of a Mathematics Petition to Penfield (NY) Board of Education. "We, the undersigned, state that the Investigations, Connected Math, and Core Plus Math programs, recently implemented in the Penfield School District, do not teach the fundamental math skills that children must know to succeed in furthering their education. We therefore ask that a traditional math program be offered as a choice for all Penfield students." The petition was signed by 671 Penfield residents 18 years of age or older. See also Parents Concerned With Penfield's Math Programs and the NYC HOLD summary page Controversy over Mathematics in Penfield, NY, Public Schools.

Higher Standards Means Eliminating Basic Skills, by Arthur Hu, January 24, 2004. A letter to the Lake Washington School Board and others about Connected Math in the local school.

Why Guilford Parents Should Oppose CMP Math, by Bill Quirk (2003). A Web paper that brings together extended quotes from critical reviews of the CMP program, including many of the reviews linked elsewere on this page. See also Handout for the May 12, 2003 Meeting of the Guilford Board of Education, by Bill Quirk.

Connected Math in PISD and elsewhere. A web page of the Plano (TX) Parental Rights Council against CMP, which has been implemented districtwide since 1999. The page also contains many national CMP links. For a supplementary view see Connected Mathematics in Plano ISD. See also Disconnecting Schoolchildren from 'Connected' Math; a report from 1999 on a legal case against the district over CMP. For more recent reports on that lawsuit see Information Regarding the "Connected Math" Lawsuit at the Plano PRC site.

Connected Math Disconnected from the Real World. A 1999 letter to parents from a concerned Plano teacher, courtesy of the Plano PRC.

New math program criticized , by Ben Hellman, the Andover Townsman, October 9, 2003. A Report on Andover (MA) district's response to parents' concern over Connected Nath Project in the 7th grade. Parents complain that math classes are too slow and are covering 6th grade material - "mindlessly repeating 6th grade stuff", as one parent describes it. Administrators admit seventh-graders may not learn all of the topics that Connected Math prescribes for seventh-graders; it may take a few years for teachers to become familiar enough with the program. Teachers advertise their concern over the curriculum, but claim that it is forced upon them by the administration. The school committee chairwoman would have preferred no newspaper articles about the issue.

A fraction of the time, by Ben Hellman, the Andover Townsman, October 23, 2003. Further reporting on Connected Math in Andover, MA.

Teach Utah Kids. Web site of a parent group in Alpine school district, Utah, concerned about curriculum. Their main concern is TERC Investigations in grade school and Connected Mathematics Project in middle school. Note especially their News Articles page.

Divided on Connected Math. For Some Parents and Experts, Curriculum Doesn't Add Up, by Brigid Schulte (WP, Oct 17, 1999; Page A01). Reporting on a conflict in Montgomery County over the introduction of Connected Math in the middle schools.

MCPS officials have `fuzzy' answers for math curriculum, by Robert Rosenfeld (Montgomery Journal, June, 1999). Don't have to read between lines to see plan's flaws, by Robert Rosenfeld (Montgomery Journal, July, 1999); County won't get `fuzzy' grant; Officials planned to use $6M to expand NSF math programs, by Jennifer Jacobson (Montgomery Journal, Dec 1999). These articles provide further information about the conflict over the CMP program in Montgomery County. A complete file of editorials, letters to the editor, and local reports may be found in the folder "FUZZYMATH" in the Math Files of the Gifted and Talented Association of Montgomery County, MD.

Testimony of Susan Sarhady to subcommittees of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce (Feb 2, 2000). Ms. Sarhady describes how the NSF-funded Texas Statewide Systemic Initiative imposed the CMP mathematics program on her children, and asks that in the future the Federal Government refrain from doing this kind of harm.

MathLand, Connected Mathematics, and the Japanese Mathematics Program, by R. James Milgram. Some comments on the three named programs in connection with the use of the MathLand grade school and CMP middle school programs in the Mountain View (CA) school district.

By the Numbers, by Adele J. Hlasnik (Pittsburg TR, 020602). Describes a parents' fight against the Everyday Mathematics grade school program and the Connected Math (CMP) middle school program that are implemented districtwide in the Pittsburg public schools.

New Math Gets Scaled Back, by Michael Rocco (Reporter Online, 020719). CMP all but removed from North Penn middle schools after numerous parent complaints.

Mathland and Connected Math Articles. A collection of articles on the named elementary and middle school mathematics programs; arranged by Vicki Hobel Schultz.

Math Protest Meet Draws 50, Reactions, by Lana Sutton. Times and Free Press, May 5, 2000. Reports on conflict over Everyday Mathematics and Connected Math Program in Hamilton County (Chattanooga), TN.

The Government Flunks Math, by David Tell for The Editors, The Weekly Standard, Dec 13, 1999.

Responses to Four Parents' Concerns About North Penn School District's Connected Mathematics Program, by Joe Merlino, Diane Briars, Steve Kramer, Lucy West and James Fey, August 20, 2002. This conference contribution by some CMP authors and implementors provides advice to school administrators for responding to parents' concerns over implementation of Connected Math.

NSF Grant Support for CMP

#9986372 Connected Mathematics Phase II.

#9980760 Adapting and Implementing Conceptually-Based Mathematics Instructional Materials for Developmental-Level Students.

#9950679 Preparing Elementary Mathematics Teachers for Success: Implementing a Research-Based Mathematics Curricula.

#9911849 Teaching Reflectively: Extending and Sustaining Use of Reforms in the Mathematics Classroom.

#9714999 Show-Me Project: A National Center for Standards-based Middle School Mathematics Curriculum Dissemination and Implementation.

#9619033 The Austin Collaborative for Mathematics Education

#9150217 Connected Mathematics Project.

This page is part of a collection of links to reviews of and commentaries on K-12 mathematics curricula and standards that is maintained by Bas Braams, Elizabeth Carson, and NYC HOLD. This ring of pages includes: TERC Investigations - Everyday Mathematics - Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) - Concepts and Skills - Structure and Method - College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) - Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP) - Mathematics, Modelling our World (MMOW) - CPMP Contemporary Mathematics in Context - Saxon Math - NCTM Standards