What is CPM Homework Help?

College Preparatory Mathematics, or CPM, is an educational program created by educators with a range of experience that offers a complete math program for grades 6 through 12. Though somewhat controversial for its actual effectiveness, the CPM courses have been principally designed with problem-based lessons, student collaboration, and spaced practice. The belief is that students learn better when they can discuss ideas with classmates, solve problems from the real world, and spend time learning and re-engaging concepts months or even years later.

The backbone of the CPM curriculum is their Core Connections Series. Courses 1-3 of Core Connections, typically cover material from middle school math (Course 1 matches 6th grade standards, Course 2 matches 7th grade standards, and Course 3 matches 8th grade standards). There are also Core Connections Courses for Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2, Precalculus, Calculus, Statistics, as well as Core Connections Integrated I, II, and III. (Click here to find the full Core Connections Program Description).

How does District 303 use CPM?

In 2012, St. Charles’ District 303 switched from Illinois Learning Standards to Common Core, adopting the CPM textbooks and various elements of the curriculum in the process. The D303 Mathematics website provides more information about specific curriculum maps for each grade level and math course, as well as a short video that highlights some of the features of the D303 math. These curriculum maps include content, standards and skills for each grade level and math course. You can also check out the list of textbooks for each course in District 303, including the CPM textbooks, in case you want to see what your student will be using in future courses. CPM’s website provides more details regarding correlations between Common Core state standards and the CPM Core Connections Courses (just search “[student course name] correlations”). If you are curious, you can also learn about CPM’s research methodologies here.

Why is CPM controversial?

In a traditional math curriculum, students work in a more quiet, structured classroom taking notes, solving skill-oriented problems (typically from a textbook), working independently, and relying on the teacher and textbook as their primary sources of information. CPM, on the other hand, places a strong emphasis on group work, where students exchange ideas, compare work, and ask each other questions rather than relying on the teacher or the textbook.

However, the consensus among most parents and students seems to be that, in CPM, there is too much emphasis placed on group achievement as opposed to individual achievement. As a result, students struggle because they aren’t receiving the attention they need from the teacher. Students who already find math challenging tend to be especially affected by such a drastic change in the way they learn.

I’ve talked to students who use the CPM curriculum and students who have a more traditional curriculum, and I’ve learned that the assumptions CPM makes about student learning are not entirely accurate. For example, one of the students I tutor for CPM homework help regularly attends St. Charles East and he reports that their math class is set up in tables of 4 to encourage group work, but group work doesn’t actually occur unless there is a group test. For everything else – quizzes, assignments and projects – students tend to work on their own. Stakes are higher on a test, so students would presumably want to do the test together, but then a situation arises where one kid ends up doing all the work while everyone else sits by and watches.

Many of my St. Charles students come in for tutoring for exactly this reason – to get explanations for questions from their group tests. They’ll tell me they got a good grade on the team test because they had one kid who did all the work, and they let them do the work because they didn’t understand the material on the test. I don’t think they do this to be free-riders (why else would they be spending money on  CPM homework help tutoring?). They go to class, they take notes (if the teacher is lecturing), they do their homework and turn in the assignments, but they just aren’t getting it. They genuinely want to know what is going on, but they have a limited number of resources at school.

What’s most interesting, however, is the general attitude toward group work, particularly in the case of students who attend schools outside of District 303. These students have a normal math curriculum. So I asked several of them if they would prefer doing more group work in math class. Every one of them said no. One would think that sitting in boring old rows, listening to boring old lectures would get old. But that isn’t necessarily the case. When it comes to math, from what I’ve gathered, students seem to prefer working alone.

Where can you find CPM homework help?

Presumably, if you are reading this blog, you fall into the group of concerned parents (or students) who are familiar with the struggles of a CPM-like curriculum, and you want to know what you can do to make math easier and homework less stressful. You can go directly the CPM parent guide that accompanies your student’s math course and textbooks. These guides provide extra practice problems (and solutions) so that you can help your student with homework and act as an extra resource for them outside of the classroom.

Learning Ascent Tutoring is also here to help. We have tutors who are experienced in working with the CPM curriculum, so you know your student will be getting the best possible CPM homework help.  Click here for homework help.in other subjects.

Leave A Comment