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What Makes Think Math! Research Based?

Formative and summative research are essential elements of the five-year grant from the National Science Foundation for the development of Think Math! To date, the program has been tested in more than 150 classrooms with about 3,500 students. The study will continue through the 2006-2007 school year.

The research includes three phases:

  • pilot phase - formative research to aid in the initial development of the program
  • field test phase - an additional year of formative research to inform continued development
  • summative research phase - to test the efficacy of the program

Throughout this process, the developers collected extensive data through:

  • regular classroom observations and discussions with the pilot teachers by the writers of the program
  • regular classroom observations, including extensive field notes, and debriefings of pilot and field test teachers by research staff
  • weekly pilot teacher interviews and monthly field test teacher interviews
  • daily lesson logs completed by both pilot and field test teachers
  • on-site teacher advisory boards to guide the development, to provide teachers' input, and to resolve design and content questions
  • standardized pretests and posttests at field test sites
  • reviews with mathematicians and educators

Based on the data, the program was then revised to improve:

  • usability - ensuring that the materials are clear and easy to use for teachers and students
  • teacher support - ensuring that concepts are clearly explained in highly accessible teacher materials
  • level of challenge for students - ensuring that the materials work for a multilevel classroom
  • lesson coherence - ensuring that individual lessons and lesson sequences are accurate and logical