We are a small, independent company in Southern California. We have been publishing Excel Math curriculum for decades. The theory behind Excel Math can be summarized in a few main points:
- Direct Instruction – we believe that the teacher plays a key role in passing along essential math concepts to students, using a variety of presentation methods, formats and activities.
- Spiraling – concepts are introduced in various ways throughout the school year. The concepts increase in difficulty, building upon one another. There is no one perfect order – we interweave in several different ways. Here’s a visual depiction of our spiraling strategy.
- Repeated contact – students encounter a new concept in the Lesson, presented by the teacher. Then they explore it during Guided Practice with their classmates. After this, they tackle the concept alone, in Homework. Finally, the concept appears on a Test a month after introduction. This phased approach
(teacher-down; together with peers; on their own at home; in a test) helps build confidence and improve mastery.
- Self-checking – using our Checkanswer system, students themselves confirm that they have grasped a subject. If thei Checkanswer sums don’t match, an answer is incorrect. They go back and redo their own work. This approach builds diagnostic thinking patterns and good work habits to support a lifetime of problem solving.
- Practice - students benefit greatly from mastering a few math concepts so they can be done automatically – such as the times tables or simple addition and subtraction. Practice helps improve our skills
in math just as it helps improve a golf swing. Basic Fact Practice (about 10-12 problems) appears 3-4 times a week in the middle grades – it’s not the drill and kill tedium of yesteryear.
The individual components of Excel Math lessons are strongly supported by research, and the entire curriculum has been used with success by thousands of schools across North America for more than 35 years.