Preparation of students completing a core-plus or commercially developed high school mathematics curriculum for intense college mathematics coursework

Michael R. Harwell, Amanuel Medhanie, Thomas R. Post, Ke Norman, Danielle N. Dupuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the college mathematics achievement and course-taking of students at a large public research university who completed a commercially developed or standards-based (Core-Plus) high school mathematics curriculum, and who subsequently completed at least 2 college mathematics courses of difficulty level at or beyond precalculus mathematics. Mathematics course-taking and achievement data across 8 college semesters were analyzed for a sample of 1,588 students. Findings indicated that students (including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors) were equally prepared for intense college mathematics coursework regardless of which high school mathematics curriculum they completed. These findings inform high school mathematics curriculum adoption decisions for college-bound students, and college policies and practices for advising students enrolling in mathematics courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-112
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Science Foundation under Small Grants Exploratory Research 0533460 and Education and Science Indicators 0627986. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Funding Information:
Empirical studies involving high school mathematics curricula typically include traditional curricula as well as curricula developed with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the late 1990s. However, the introduction of NSF-funded curricula was quickly followed by harsh criticism of these curricula (Schoenfeld, 2004). A precise measure of the effect of the criticism is unavailable, but there is anecdotal evidence that the criticism has reduced the number of school districts using these curricula in many states (Post, Monson, Dupuis, Medhanie, & LeBeau, 2010b).


  • college mathematics
  • curriculum
  • high school
  • longitudinal


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