these sites would often make it difficult to match. Studies were categorized into specified (including a single or multiple identified curricula) and nonspecified curricula. In the 63 studies, the central group was compared to an NSF-supported curriculum (1), an unnamed traditional curriculum (41), a named traditional curriculum (19), and one of the six commercial curricula (2). To our knowledge, any systematic impact of such a decision on results has not been studied, but we express concern that when a specified curriculum is compared to an unspecified content which is a set of many informal curriculum, the comparison may favor the coherency and consistency of the single curricula, and we consider this possibility subsequently under alternative hypotheses. We believe that a quality study should at least report the array of curricula that comprise the comparative group and include a measure of the frequency of use of each, but a well-defined alternative is more desirable.
If a study was both longitudinal and comparative, then it was coded as comparative. When studies only examined performances of a group over time, such as in some longitudinal studies, it was coded as quasi-experimental normed. In longitudinal studies, the problems created by student mobility were evident. In one study, Carroll (2001), a five-year longitudinal study of Everyday Mathematics, the sample size began with 500 students, 24 classrooms, and 11 schools. By 2nd grade, the longitudinal sample was 343. By 3rd grade, the number of classes increased to 29 while the number of original students decreased to 236 students. At the completion of the study, approximately 170 of the original students were still in the sample. This high rate of attrition from the study suggests that mobility is a major challenge in curricular evaluation, and that the effects of curricular change on mobile students needs to be studied as a potential threat to the validity of the comparison. It is also a challenge in curriculum implementation because students coming into a program do not experience its cumulative, developmental effect.
Longitudinal studies also have unique challenges associated with outcome measures, a study by Romberg et al. (in press) (EX) discussed one approach to this problem. In this study, an external assessment system and a problem-solving assessment system were used. In the External Assessment System, items from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and Third International Mathematics and Science Survey (TIMSS) were balanced across four strands (number, geometry, algebra, probability and statistics), and 20 items of moderate difficulty, called anchor items, were repeated on each grade-specific assessment (p. 8). Because the analyses of the results are currently under way, the evaluators could not provide us with final results of this study, so it is coded as EX.
However, such longitudinal studies can provide substantial evidence of the effects of a curricular program because they may be more sensitive to an