Monday, November 12, 2007

CPS TerraNova scores drop five percent after TERC Investigations adopted

The MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) 4th grade mathematics test includes nationally normed multiple choice items from the TerraNova assessment from CTB/McGraw-Hill (p.2 in the MAP examiner's manual at the Missouri DESE web site.) Columbia Public Schools students' median national percentage rank dropped five percentage points on these items after TERC Investigations was adopted. The adoption was phased with Fairview Elementary adopting TERC in all grades for the 2001-2002 school year and the remaining elementary schools adopting TERC for fourth grade in 2003-2004.

According to Resendez and Manley (2005) cited on the U.S. DOE website the TerraNova CTBS is a reliable and valid standardized test that offers broad coverage of the mathematics content in most textbooks and reflects the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards.

According to Assessment Standards For Missouri Public Schools on the Missouri DESE web site "the advantages of these items are: 1) they are effective in measuring students’ breadth of content knowledge; and 2) a large number of these items can be administered and scored in a short amount of time."

A major criticism of TERC materials is their inadequate coverage of standard mathematical content like definitions and terminology, a criticism which is clearly supported by CPS test results.