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A Multi-Institutional Study of High School Mathematics Curricula and College Mathematics Achievement and Course Taking

Michael R. Harwell, Thomas R. Post, Amanuel Medhanie, Danielle N. Dupuis, and Brandon LeBeau

This study examined the relationship between high school mathematics curricula and student achievement and course-taking patterns over 4 years of college. Three types of curricula were studied: National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded curricula, the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project curriculum, and commercially developed curricula. The major result was that high school mathematics curricula were unrelated to college mathematics achievement or students' course-taking patterns for students who began college with precalculus (college algebra) or a more difficult course. However, students of the NSF-funded curricula were statistically more likely to begin their college mathematics at the developmental level.

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The Impact of Prior Math Achievement on the Relationship Between HS Math Curricula and Postsecondary Math Performance, Course-Taking, and Persistence

Thomas R. Post, Amanuel Medhanie, Michael Harwell, Ke Wu Norman, Danielle N. Dupuis, Thomas Muchlinski, Edwin Andersen, and Debra Monson

This retrospective study examined the impact of prior mathematics achievement on the relationship between high school mathematics curricula and student postsecondary mathematics performance. The sample (N = 4,144 from 266 high schools) was partitioned into 3 strata by ACT mathematics scores. Students completing 3 or more years of a commercially developed curriculum, the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project curriculum, or National Science Foundation-funded curriculum comprised the sample. Of interest were comparisons of the difficulty level and grade in their initial and subsequent college mathematics courses, and the number of mathematics courses completed over 8 semesters of college work. In general, high school curriculum was not differentially related to the pattern of mathematics grades that students earned over time or to the difficulty levels of the students' mathematics course-taking patterns. There also was no relationship between high school curricula and the number of college mathematics courses completed.