An Investigation of Teachers’ Intentions and Reflections About Using Standards-based and Traditional Textbooks in the Classroom

Bikai Nie, University of Delaware
Tony Freedman, University of Delaware
Stephen Hwang, University of Delaware
Ning Wang, Widener University
John Moyer, Marquette University
Jinfa Cai, University of Delaware

ZDM - The International Journal on Mathematics Education, (February 2013). DOI.


This study analyzed teachers’ intentions for and reflections on their use of Standards-based [Connected Mathematics Program (CMP)] textbooks and traditional (non-CMP) mathematics textbooks to guide instruction. In this investigation of the interplay between textbooks and instruction, we focused on learning goals, instructional tasks, teachers’ anticipation of students’ difficulties, and their perceptions of students’ achievement of learning goals. All of these are aspects of teachers’ intentions and reflections that have proved fruitful in comparing the roles of the CMP and non-CMP mathematics textbooks in our Longitudinal Investigation of the Effect of Curriculum on Algebra Learning project. Whereas the cognitive level of the teachers’ intended learning goals appeared generally to reflect the emphases of their respective textbooks, we found that the CMP teachers’ intended learning goals were not as well aligned with the CMP textbooks as the non-CMP teachers’ learning goals were aligned with their non-CMP textbooks. The CMP and non-CMP teachers’ implementations of the lessons seemed to reduce the degree of difference between the cognitive levels of their intended goals. Even so, we found that significantly more CMP lessons than non-CMP lessons were implemented at a high level of cognitive demand. Although the non-CMP teachers’ intended learning goals were better aligned with their textbook’s learning goals, we found that the CMP teachers were more likely than the non-CMP teachers to follow the guidance of their textbooks in designing and selecting instructional tasks for a lesson. Future research should consider other aspects of teachers’ intentions and reflections that may shed a broader light on the role of textbooks and curriculum materials in teachers’ crafting of instructional experiences for their students.