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Major Publishers Get Poor Reviews for High School Common-Core Math Books

Today, the curriculum review website EdReports.org released its first round of results for high school math textbooks—and three of the major publishers performed quite poorly.

Textbooks from the College Board, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Pearson all failed to meet the expectations for being considered aligned to the Common Core State Standards. 

A program by Carnegie Learning partially met the expectations for focus and rigor, but overall was deemed not aligned to the common standards, according to EdReports.org. 

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Of the five high school programs reviewed, the only one that was found to be fully aligned to the common core in all areas was a math textbook by CPM Educational Program.

In a response to the review of its integrated high school math textbook, Pearson wrote that the evaluations by EdReports "continue to be plagued by inaccuracies, misunderstandings of program instructional models, misinterpretations of both the intent and the expectation of the Common Core State Standards for mathematics and the Publisher's Criteria, and a lack of understanding of effective curriculum development and pedagogy."

Prior K-8 Reviews

EdReports.org posted its first round of reviews looking at K-8 math materials last March. Conducted mainly by teachers, the reviews showed that nearly all instructional materials analyzed failed to live up to claims of common-core alignment.

Soon after, the group came under fire for its methodology. EdReports.org, which is funded by organizations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, consequently altered its review process and upped some of the initial scores. (A disclosure here: The Gates foundation also supports some coverage of college- and career-ready standards in Education Week.)

The reviews continue to come out on a rolling basis. Recently, the group found that the popular K-6 program, Everyday Math, which is used in about 200,000 classrooms around the country, did not meet the common core's expectations. 

College Board, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Pearson have all received poor reviews from EdReports.org previously for some of their elementary and middle school curricula. 

This is the first time EdReports.org has tackled high school texts. The group expects to release its first round of reviews for English/language arts materials in late summer or fall.


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