Everyday Mathematics is a pre-K and elementary school mathematics curriculum, developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (not to be confused with the University of Chicago School of Mathematics). The program, now published by McGraw-Hill Education, has sparked debate.


Everyday Mathematics curriculum was developed by the University of Chicago School Math Project (or UCSMP )[1] which was founded in 1983. Work on it started in the summer of 1985. The 1st edition was released in 1998 and the 2nd in 2002. A third edition was released in 2007 and a fourth in 2014-2015.[2]

Curriculum structure

Below is an outline of the components of EM as they are generally seen throughout the curriculum.


A typical lesson outlined in one of the teacher’s manuals includes three parts[3]

Daily Routines

Every day, there are certain things that each EM lesson requires the student to do routinely. These components can be dispersed throughout the day or they can be part of the main math lesson.

Supplemental Aspects

Beyond the components already listed, there are supplemental resources to the program. The two most common are games and explorations.

Scientific support for the curriculum

What Works Clearinghouse ( or WWC ) [4] reviewed the evidence in support of the Everyday Mathematics program. Of the 61 pieces of evidence submitted by the publisher, 57 did not meet the WWC minimum standards for scientific evidence, four met evidence standards with reservations, and one of those four showed a statistically significant positive effect. Based on the four studies considered, the WWC gave Everyday Math a rating of "Potentially Positive Effect" with the four studies showing a mean improvement in elementary math achievement (versus unspecified alternative programs) of 6 percentile rank points with a range of -7 to +14 percentile rank points, on a scale from -50 to +50.[5][6]


After the first edition was released, it became part of a nationwide controversy over reform mathematics. In October 1999, US Department of Education issued a report labeling Everyday Mathematics one of five "promising" new math programs.[7] The perceived endorsement of Everyday Mathematics and a number of other textbooks by an agency of the US government caused such outrage among practicing mathematicians and scientists that a group of them drafted an open letter to then Secretary of Education Richard Riley urging him to withdraw the report. The letter [8] appeared in the November 18, 1999 edition of the Post and was eventually signed by more than 200 prominent mathematicians and scientists including four Nobel Laureates (one of whom, Steven Chu, has since become Secretary of Energy), three Fields Medalists, a National Medal of Science winner from the University of Chicago, and the some chairs of math departments.[9]

The debate has continued at the state and local level as school districts across the country consider the adoption of Everyday Math. Two states where the controversy has attracted national attention are California and Texas. California has one of the most rigorous textbook adoption processes and in January 2001 rejected Everyday Mathematics for failing to meet state content standards.[10] Everyday Math stayed off the California textbook lists until 2007 when the publisher released a California version of the 3rd edition that is supplemented with more traditional arithmetic,[11] reigniting debate at the local level.[12] In late 2007, the Texas State Board of Education took the unusual step of rejecting the 3rd edition of Everyday Math [13] after earlier editions had been in use in more than 70 districts across the state. The fact that they singled out Everyday Math while approving all 162 other books and educational materials raised questions about the board's legal powers.[14] The state of Texas dropped Everyday Mathematics, saying it was leaving public school graduates unprepared for college.[15]


  1. ^ Chicago educational- retrieved in 2004
  2. ^ Max Bell was Project Director and James McBride was Project Director
  3. ^ Example of typical lesson online- retrieved in April 2009
  4. ^ WWC: is a database math interventions prepared by a contractor for the U.S. Department of Education)
  5. ^ Interpretation: An average (50th percentile rank) student taught with Everyday Math could be expected to perform on average as well on the measurements used in the various studies as a student in one of the comparison programs performing at the 56th percentile rank
  6. ^ What Works Clearinghouse Intervention Report on Everyday Mathematics, updated April 2007 - retrieved 2009-04-11
  7. ^ Jackson, A.;Notices of the American Mathematical Society,2000
  8. ^ "AN OPEN LETTER TO UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, RICHARD RILEY". Archived from the original on 2002-08-03. Retrieved 2009-04-19.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ departments : at Caltech, Cornell, Stanford, UC Irvine, University of Maryland, University of Rochester, University of Wisconsin, and Yale University
  10. ^ California State Board of Education 2001 Mathematics Adoption Report, January 2001 [1] Retrieved April 19, 2009
  11. ^ California State Board of Education 2007 Mathematics Primary Adoption Report, (2008)- Url retrieved April 19, 2009
  12. ^ quote by Samuels,D,2009-04- 14, "Palo Alto school-URL retrieved April 19, 2009
  13. ^ State Board of Education Summary of Action Items, November 16, 2007 [2] Retrieved April 19, 2009
  14. ^ Smith, K, (2008-01-16) "Rejection of math textbook sparks debate on state board's authority", Dallas Morning News, Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  15. ^ "Texas Challenges City on Math Curriculum". The New York Sun. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
Additional references