A Study of Math Curricula in the United States

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., has been providing research and data collection to guide public policies. One of its ongoing efforts is to evaluate Mathematics curricula in the early grades. In the United States, there are several curricula and in this specific study, Mathematica chose to examine four: (1) Investigations in Number, Data and Space, (2) Math Expressions, (3) Saxon Math, and (4) Scott Foresman - Addison Wesley Mathematics. A summary describing each of these curricula can be obtained from this link: http://www.mathcurriculastudy.com/Curricula%20Summaries.pdf

The following are links to the websites of these four curricula:

(2) Math Expressions

Results of the study have been released to the public. These are described in the following link:
http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/Newsroom/Releases/2010/MathStudyYr2_11_10.asp and the formal report which include the data and analysis can be read in http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/PDFs/education/mathcurricula_fstsndgrade.pdf.

There are statistically significant differences between the curricula and the findings favor "Math Expressions". I would like to highlight the following description of "Math Expressions" taken from the abstract obtained from http://www.mathcurriculastudy.com/Curricula%20Summaries.pdf (the bold emphasis is mine):

Key aspects of this curriculum include application of accessible algorithms that can be more easily understood and used by students; use of student math drawings and research-based visual representations to support student understanding and class discussion of mathematical thinking; an emphasis on in-depth sustained learning of core grade-level concepts (rather than a spiral curriculum) to support students’ conceptual understanding and fluency; and a “learn by teaching” design to support teachers new to the curriculum.
Contrast the above study with DepEd's Secretary Luistro's view:

"Mapapagbuti na natin ang kaalaman ng mga mag-aaral sa Agham at Matematika sa pagsusulong ng spiral approach sa ating bagong curriculum," the DepEd chief said. (With the spiral approach in the new curriculum, we will improve learning in math and science)