About the Center

The National Center for Cognition and Mathematics Instruction (Math Center), funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), is applying the latest cognitive science principles to redesign mathematics curriculum and is conducting rigorous research to determine if these modifications impact student learning.

The Math Center brings together leading experts in cognition, instruction, assessment, research design and measurement, mathematics education, and teacher professional development to address this need. The center partners are working together to redesign and test a widely-used middle school mathematics curriculum Connected Mathematics Project (CMP).

Specifically, the Math Center applies four design principles derived from recommendations in the IES Practice Guide Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning: (1) Combining graphics with verbal descriptions to promote the integration of concepts, (2) structuring practice by interleaving worked examples with new problems to solve, (3) carefully spacing the learning of critical content and skills over time, and (4) using focused feedback on quizzes and homework to promote student learning.

The Math Center is testing the proposed revisions by conducting experimental studies to evaluate the individual and combined effects of the application of the four design principles and is conducting a large-scale randomized control intervention study to evaluate the efficacy of the revised curriculum.