major conceptual ideas (Milgram testimony; Schifter testimony). With a clear specification of objectives, a reviewer can search for missing or superfluous content. A common weakness among content analyses, for example, was failure to check for comprehensiveness. In mathematics, comprehensiveness is particularly important, as missing material can lead to an inability to function downstream. In a content analysis of the Connected Math Program, Milgram (2003) wrote:
Overall, the program seems to be very incomplete, and I would judge that it is aimed at underachieving students rather than normal or higher achieving students…. The philosophy used throughout the program is that students construct their own knowledge and that calculators are to always be available for calculation.
This means that
standard algorithms are not introduced, not even for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions
precise definitions are never given
repetitive practice for developing skills, such as basic manipulative skills, is never given
Likewise, Adams et al. (2000, p. 14), critiqued Mathematics in Context on similar dimensions:
Our central criticism of Mathematics in Context curriculum concerns its failure to meet elements of the 2000 NCTM number strands. Because MiC is so fixated on conceptual underpinnings, computational methods and efficiency are slighted. Formal algorithms for, say, dividing fractions are neither taught nor discovered by the students. The students are presented with the simplest numerical problems, and the harder calculations are performed using calculators. Students would come out of the curriculum very calculator-dependent…. To us, this represents a radical change for the old “drill-and-kill” curricula, in which calculation was over-emphasized. The pendulum has, apparently, swung to the other side, and we feel a return to some middle ground emphasizing both conceptual knowledge and computational efficiency is warranted.
As an example of the positive impact of content analyses, the authors have indicated that in response to criticisms and the changes advised by PSSM, plans are being made to strengthen these dimensions in subsequent versions (Adams et al., 2000).
Accuracy was selected as one of our primary criteria because all consumers of mathematics curricula expect and demand it. The elimination of errors is of critical importance in mathematics (Wu testimony at the Sep-