BOX 3-3
Focus Topics from the 1989 NSF Request for Proposals

New mathematics topics

Links between mathematics and other disciplines

Increased access for underserved students and elimination of tracking

Use of student-centered pedagogies

Increased uses of technologies

Application of research on student learning

Use of open-ended assessments

SOURCE: NSF (1989).

evaluator’s view of the causal links and covariants among the program components. In terms of our framework, program theory requires the precise specification of relationships among the primary components (program components, implementation components, and student outcomes) and the secondary components (systemic factors, intervention strategies, and unanticipated influences).

For example, within the NSF-supported curricula, there were a number of innovative elements of program theory specified by the Request for Proposals (Box 3-3). For example, the call for proposals for the middle grades curricula specified that prospective developers consider curriculum structure, teaching methods, support for teachers, methods and materials for assessment, and experiences in implementing new materials (NSF, 1989).

In contrast, according to Frank Wang of Saxon Publishing (personal communication, September 11, 2003), their curriculum development and production efforts follow a very different path. The Saxon product development model is to find something that is already “working” (meaning curriculum use increases test scores) and refine it and package it for wider distribution. They see this as creating a direct product of the classroom experience rather than designing a program that meets a prespecified set of requirements. Also, they prefer to select programs written by single authors rather than by a team of authors, which is more prevalent now among the big publishers.

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