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ERIC Number: ED508731
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 46
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 29
A Decade of COMPASS: Improving High School Mathematics Education through a National Curriculum Implementation Center
Allen, Kasi; St. John, Mark; Tambe, Pamela
Inverness Research
Back in 1992, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded grants to five curriculum development teams and charged them with the task of starting over. Five years later, each of the development teams had produced an innovative and "integrated" curriculum. All represented notable departures from the commonly encountered, calculus-driven high school sequence of Algebra, Geometry, Advanced Algebra, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus. Instead of perpetuating the high school tradition of courses focused on a single discipline, the new instructional materials promoted secondary mathematics courses that purposefully wove together a developmentally appropriate fabric of topics from algebra, geometry, statistics, trigonometry, and so on--not to mention the inclusion of more modern topics, such as networking theory. The NSF then funded four national curriculum implementation centers focused on mathematics. Only one of these centers focused specifically on the high school--COMPASS. The COMPASS Center quickly established itself as the primary resource serving schools and districts seeking support for and research related to the dissemination of the NSF-funded high school mathematics programs. The leaders also dedicated themselves to creating greater awareness about these programs from coast to coast. The current report documents the history of the COMPASS Center's efforts and evolving strategies over the past ten years. Inverness Research has served as the external evaluator for COMPASS since 1998. During this period, the authors have had the opportunity to study multiple NSF initiatives designed to support K-12 mathematics improvement. The authors draw on these experiences here as they describe highlights of the COMPASS Center's work and detail its specific contributions to broader efforts to improve high school mathematics education. Their intent is not only to chronicle the COMPASS story specifically, but also to illuminate the need for and benefits of the NSF investments made in curriculum implementation Centers in general. Appendices include: (1) Satellite Sites and Their Dissemination Strategies; (2) COMPASS Chronology; (3) COMPASS Implementation Stories; (4) COMPASS POINTS Network Foundational Beliefs; and (5) COMPASS POINTS Letter to NCTM. (Contains 25 footnotes.)
Inverness Research. P.O. Box 313, Inverness, CA 94937. Tel: 415-669-7156; Fax: 415-669-7186; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Inverness Research