News Release

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Trisha Thomas
Illustrative Mathematics

Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math Meets Expectations in all EdReports Gateways—
A first among middle school math curricula

After extensive review from educators nationwide, Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math meets expectations in all 3 Gateways of EdReports: Focus & Coherence, Rigor & Mathematical Practice, and Usability.

Tuscon, AZ – January 24, 2018 — Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math, the first curriculum from nonprofit publisher Open Up Resources, is the only middle school math series to meet expectations across all three Gateways in EdReports, an independent nonprofit that reviews K–12 curricula for standards alignment and quality.

A problem-based curriculum that develops students’ mathematical reasoning skills and fosters discussion-filled classrooms, Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math was developed through a partnership between Open Up Resources and Illustrative Mathematics, the nonprofit founded by lead standards author Bill McCallum.

Under EdReports’ extensive review process, a diverse group of highly trained educators met weekly to review and score the curriculum against detailed criteria for three categories:

  • Standards Alignment Focus & Coherence: Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards?
  • Standards Alignment Rigor & Mathematical Practices: Are all standards present and treated with the appropriate depth and quality required to support students?
  • Usability: On measures of classroom utility, how teacher- and student-friendly are the materials and how do they foster student growth?

After an extensive examination, the educator review team scored the curriculum a perfect 14/14 for Focus & Coherence, a perfect 18/18 for Rigor & Mathematical Practices, and a near-perfect 37/38 for Usability in each grade level.

During its curriculum development process, Open Up Resources reviews each program against expert-developed instruments, including the EQuIP and IMET rubrics, as well as proprietary standards for English language learner supports. Curriculum authors integrate this feedback, as well as feedback from teachers using the curriculum in beta release, as they refine and finalize the materials.

Said lead author Bill McCallum of Illustrative Mathematics, "Our curriculum writing team of mathematicians and educators worked hard to produce a curriculum that follows a coherent progression, focuses on important mathematics, and engages students in sharing their reasoning. I couldn’t be more proud of the work they have done."

As school districts become increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of standards-aligned, high-quality offerings from the major publishers, EdReports offers a way for districts to quickly gauge curriculum quality against important metrics before making a determination on materials adoption.

Not only is Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math the only middle school math curriculum to score top marks across the board, the curriculum has been published as an Open Educational Resource (OER), which means it is available to all districts at no cost. Even after investing in the professional development or print materials that accompany the curriculum, districts that adopt Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math still pay far less than they would for traditional textbooks—often the savings can exceed 80 percent.

Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math, which was made available as an OER just before the 2017–18 school year, has been adopted by hundreds of districts to date, including Sunnyside Unified School District (AZ), Buncombe County Schools (NC), Evergreen Public Schools (WA), and Tumwater School District (WA).

The curriculum was fine-tuned over the course of a yearlong, 175-teacher beta release. A survey of the teachers who used Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math in its beta release showed that 90 percent found the curriculum highly effective or effective. Another 90 percent said that they would either recommend—or had already recommended—that their peers use the curriculum. "This curriculum has been a game-changer for us, because it fosters active learning by our students," said David Parascand, Math Specialist in Tumwater School District (WA), a district that participated in the 2016–17 beta release of the curriculum before adopting it. "Students discuss the math they’re learning every day, and because their thinking is really visible, teachers can give every student exactly the support they need. “In addition, the curriculum authors were extremely receptive to our team’s feedback during the beta release. This appreciation of the needs of teachers likely translated into the high Usability marks for in this EdReports review," said Parascand. Districts interested in Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math can visit

To see the full EdReports Review, visit