Research Base

CPM Educational Program is supported by an extensive and growing research base. CPM’s research base includes foundational educational research that supports CPM’s core principles as well as ongoing studies on the efficacy and implementation of CPM curriculum.


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Tom Sallee's Synthesis of research that supports the principles of the CPM Educational Program

This research synthesis comes in two parts. The first part is for a general audience—people who want an introduction to how CPM was developed and a brief discussion of the reasons for the choices we made. The second part contains specific references to the educational literature for the involved teacher, administrator or parent.

Overview. The writer-developers of CPM began with the belief that the primary goal of teaching mathematics should be long-term knowledge. If learning does not persist past the end of the chapter or the end of the year, in what sense has the student learned anything useful? So the question became, what are the most effective ways to foster long term learning? Ultimately, the program was built around three fundamental principles informed by both theory and practice.

1. Initial learning of a concept is best supported by discussions within cooperative learning groups guided by a knowledgeable teacher.

2. Integration of knowledge is best supported by engagement of the learner with a wide array of problems around a core idea.

3. Long-term retention and transfer of knowledge is best supported by spaced practice or spiraling.

These principles derived from research provided a philosophy of how children learn and how teaching should occur in an ideal classroom. Then books were written to make this philosophy concrete and teachers were provided support so that they could use the books effectively.


2013: Research that supports the principles of the CPM Educational Program

In the seven years since the original CPM Research Report was posted, the new research has continued to validate the efficacy of the three pillars of CPM pedagogy:

1. Students learn ideas more deeply when they discuss ideas with classmates.

2. Students learn ideas more usefully for other arenas when they learn by attacking problems—ideally from the real world.

3. Students learn ideas more permanently when they are required to engage and re-engage with the ideas for months or even years.

These three principles (termed, respectively, as “cooperative learning,” “problem-based learning” and “mixed, spaced practice”) have driven the development of the CPM textbooks from the beginning and each year these principles are validated by more solid research to prove their effectiveness. 


2006: Synthesis of research that supports the principles of the CPM Educational Program

Overview. The writer-developers of CPM began with the belief that the primary goal of teaching mathematics should be long-term knowledge. If learning does not persist past the end of the chapter or the end of the year, in what sense has the student learned anything useful? So the question became, what are the most effective ways to foster long term learning? Ultimately, the program was built around three fundamental principles informed by both theory and practice.


Additional Information and Studies

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Related Information
CPM Studies
CPM Studies: 2010-2013
CPM Studies: 2003-2010
CPM Studies: 1998-2002
CPM Studies: 1992-1995