Impact of the Michigan Merit Curriculum in Mathematics : Are Teachers Ready to Instruct At - Risk and Special Needs Students?

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2013


The new Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice parallel the new rigorous requirements of the Michigan Merit Mathematics Curriculum; thus, this qualitative study investigated perceptions of 298 mathematics educators on the Michigan Merit Math Curriculum and of their perceived qualifications to teach these new mathematics requirements to at-risk and special education populations. To better understand the effect of these new mathematics requirements (requiring all students to complete four years of mathematics, including Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and one additional senior mathematics course), two focus groups often mathematics educators were conducted. Findings show these teachers believe that (a) the dropout rate will remain stable; (b) classroom instruction will change; (c) new stressors in terms of money, time, and focus will emerge; and (d) classroom teachers will feel under-qualified to effectively teach the new curriculum to students in special education. Future professional development to improve content or pedagogical skill sets was requested.