Parents have been requesting data to prove the effectiveness and success of College Preparatory Mathematics, which is being used to teach Algebra I this year in the Fairfield Public School District. Fairfield administrators have provided no independent evidence. Instead, parents have been provided non-statistical and invalid support of CPM's effectiveness.
Repeatedly, parents have been telling administrators that their children are struggling and outside tutoring is needed. Due to lack of response, an ever-growing group of parents have diligently researched this math program and made inquiries in other districts that at one time used CPM.
Through "self-discovery" and "perseverance," parents were recently connected with a new empirical study on CPM that was published by a school superintendent in Illinois. He completed a statistical analysis of the CPM curriculum for the Zion-Benton High School Class of 2014 using ACT's Educational Planning and Assessment System. This study is consistent with articles and studies repeatedly demonstrating CPM's shortcomings and failures since introduced almost 20 years ago in California.
With a cohort of Zion-Benton High School students who strictly used CPM, this longitudinal study found the following: Entering Freshman year, 39.3 percent of the students were meeting college-readiness benchmarks. We all know this number should improve as they move students through high school math. However, at Zion-Benton, the opposite occurred. In their sophomore year, the percentage meeting college readiness benchmarks dropped by 11 percent. By junior year, the percentage meeting the benchmarks dropped another 10 percent. After two years of CPM math, only 18.7 percent were meeting these benchmarks.
The conclusion: CPM instruction negatively impacted student performance. CPM lowered test scores and as well as widened the gap among students, as proven through an increase in the standard deviation. Most, if not all, of these students will need some sort of remediation prior to entering pre-calculus or calculus.
The main findings of this report are that student exposure to CPM curriculum does not result in improved college-readiness performance over the two years examined. In fact, the gap doubles during the freshman year and quadruples during the sophomore year between Zion-Benton students' performance and college readiness benchmarks.
The Fairfield Board of Education refused to remove CPM in December; administrators admitted an error in the roll out of CPM with no remediation; and now more time has passed. At this point, it is time for accountability in the central office. Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that the administrators rushed to purchase and implement CPM without proper due diligence.