Reviews of Contemporary Mathematics in Context

Core-Plus Mathematics Project (CPMP)

Basic Information and Introduction

Core Plus Contemporary Mathematics in Context (CMiC) is a High School mathematics curriculum produced by the Core-Plus Mathematics Project (CPMP) at Western Michigan University. The Project Director is Christian R. Hirsch, with co-Directors Arthur F. Coxford, James T. Fey, and Harold L. Schoen; and Senior Curriculum Developers Gail Burrill, Eric W. Hart, Brian A. Keller, and Ann E. Watkins. The project web site is The CPMP curriculum is published by Glencoe McGraw-Hill under the title Contemporary Mathematics in Context: A Unified Approach.

The CPMP web site introduces the curriculum as follows: "[...] a comprehensive Standards-based three-year high school mathematics curriculum for all students, plus a fourth-year course continuing the preparation of students for college mathematics. Key features of the curriculum include: teaching algebra and geometry every year along with important new topics from statistics and discrete mathematics, emphasizing mathematical modeling and applications, and teaching students to solve more challenging problems."

The CPMP Core-Plus Contemporary Mathematics in Context High School program described and reviewed on this page is not to be confused with the Mathematics in Context (MiC) Middle School program developed at the University of Wisconsin and published by Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Critical Reviews and Commentaries

Public Statement to member of the Higher Education and Public Policy Joint Committee of the Minnesota Legislature, by Lawrence Gray, Jan 25, 2001. Professor Gray expresses his concerns over the preparedness of students that enter the University of Minnesota after having gone through a "reform" mathematics program. He notes especially the Core Plus program, used in local districts. For a continued discussion about Core Plus in this connection see also Professor Gray's Response to Jim Fey.

A Study of Core-Plus Students Attending Michigan State University, by Richard O. Hill and Thomas H. Parker (Draft, Dec 2002). Authors' abstract: A study involving over 3000 Michigan students found that students arriving at Michigan State University from four high schools which began using the Core-Plus Mathematics program placed into, and enrolled in, increasingly lower level courses as the implementation progressed. This conclusion is statistically very robust - the existence of a downward is statistically significant with p<.0001. The grades these students earned in the mathematics courses they took are also below average (p<.01). ACT scores suggested the existence but not the severity of these trends.

Discussion and annotations yet to be done...

See the Section on CPMP/CMiC at the Mathematically Correct Program Reviews.

See A sample list of errors in Core Plus Materials, by Lawrence Gray.

Milgram article.

Recent Trends in High School Mathematics, Opinions of Bert Fristedt. The author is professor of mathematics at the University of Minnesota. The article focusses on the lack of content in "Core-Plus" and in "Interactive Mathematics Program". See esp. the sub-page on Mathematics Areas in Grades 9-12.

See Reform vs. Traditional Math Curricula and associated commentary and updates.

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.

Mark Schwartz to House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Feb 2, 2000. About the imposition of Core Plus mathematics on a Bloomfield Hills, MI, high school and the resulting parent rebellion.

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