Research and Development
Everyday Mathematics is a research-based curriculum developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. UCSMP was founded in 1983 during a time of growing consensus that our nation was failing to provide its students with an adequate mathematical education. The goal of this on-going project is to significantly improve the mathematics curriculum and instruction for all school children in the U.S.
Development of Everyday Mathematics began with a research phase. During this phase, the authors of the curriculum reviewed a rich body of existing research on children's mathematical thinking and on curriculum and instruction. They also interviewed hundreds of K-3 children and surveyed instructional practices in other countries. Based on their findings, the authors established several basic principles that have guided the development of Everyday Mathematics. These principles are:
- Students acquire knowledge and skills, and develop an understanding of mathematics from their own experience. Mathematics is more meaningful when it is rooted in real life contexts and situations, and when children are given the opportunity to become actively involved in learning. Teachers and other adults play a very important role in providing children with rich and meaningful mathematical experiences.
- Children begin school with more mathematical knowledge and intuition than previously believed. A K-6 curriculum should build on this intuitive and concrete foundation, gradually helping children gain an understanding of the abstract and symbolic.
- Teachers, and their ability to provide excellent instruction, are the key factors in the success of any program. Previous efforts to reform mathematics instruction failed because they did not adequately consider the working lives of teachers.
With these principles in mind, the Everyday Mathematics author team began developing the curriculum. Starting with kindergarten, Everyday Mathematics was developed one grade level at a time. Each grade level went through a three-year development cycle that included one year of writing, a year of extensive field testing in a cross section of actual classrooms, and a year of revising before final publication. All seven grade levels were written by the same core of authors, in collaboration with a team of mathematicians, education specialists and classroom teachers. This unique development process has resulted in a comprehensive K-6 curriculum that provides a consistent high quality, and a sequence of instruction that carefully builds upon and extends the knowledge and skills of the previous year.