Standards-Based Instructional Materials

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As described in other sections, from 2002 to 2008 the CPS Chicago Math & Science Initiative (CMSI) focused on changing teacher instructional practices to improve student achievement. The CMSI included as one of its major strategies the use of standards-based instructional materials.

The CMSI looked for two things as it evaluated instructional materials: content aligned with state standards, and approaches to presenting this content that improve students’ math and science learning. The CMSI chose instructional materials that, in addition to meeting those two criteria, also used teaching techniques shown to work for student populations similar to those in Chicago. Because the selected materials had inquiry-based instruction built into their design, CMSI planners believed that as teachers learned the new materials, they would also learn new ways of teaching.

This section discusses how context shaped the focus on a limited set of standards- and researched-based instructional materials, the implementation plans and actions around those materials, and the sustainability issues of this facet of systemic reform in Chicago.

Other sections discuss professional development workshops focused on these instructional materials and in school instructional support addressing use of these materials among the key issues addressed by the CMSI.

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