MENLO PARK, CA [August 24, 2017] — Open Up Resources, the nonprofit provider of openly licensed curriculum for K–12 schools, has released its first openly licensed core program, the Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math curriculum. Developed by Illustrative Mathematics, the nonprofit founded by standards author Bill McCallum to improve mathematics instruction in U.S. schools, the curriculum is now available for free to school districts.

Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math is a problem-based curriculum that fosters discussion-filled classrooms and encourages students to show their mathematical thinking in multiple ways. The curriculum, which has been published as an Open Educational Resource under Creative Commons license CC BY, is available in both digital and print formats at

It is the first curriculum made openly available by Open Up Resources, which was founded to develop new high-quality alternatives to curricula offered by traditional publishers, and to increase equity in education by distributing these materials freely, as OER.

“Every student deserves access to excellent curriculum, no matter the resources of their school district,” says Larry Singer, Open Up Resources CEO. “Today’s open release of the Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math curriculum sets the standard for our work, as we give away a core program of truly exceptional quality and support districts across the country with its implementation.”

During the 2016–17 school year, 175 teachers across six school districts helped fine-tune the curriculum as part of a yearlong beta release. Daily teacher feedback was used by the Illustrative Mathematics authoring team in the refinement of the materials.

The beta release districts included: Sunnyside Unified School District (AZ), Buncombe County Schools (NC), Vancouver Public Schools (WA), Evergreen Public Schools (WA), Tumwater School District (WA), and Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (CA). All of those districts are continuing to use the curriculum, and most are adopting district-wide.

“We adopted the Illustrative Mathematics curriculum district-wide because we saw huge increases in student engagement with the materials,” says Corrine Williams, Mathematics Specialist at Evergreen Public Schools. “Students were constantly talking about math, using precise language, and constructing mathematically sound arguments. The curriculum facilitates productive struggle for our learners, and teachers have been excited to shift their instruction from being the ‘sage on the stage’ to the ‘guide on the side.’”

“This is the complete, aligned, big-picture-driven curriculum that we have been seeking for many years, says Stefanie Buckner, Mathematics Curriculum Specialist for Buncombe County Schools. “There are products on the market aligned to content or practice, but the Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math curriculum is truly the first that aligns in equal intensity to both. We are excited to move to a district-wide adoption in all three grades this year.”

A survey of the teachers who used the curriculum in its beta release showed that 90 percent found the curriculum highly effective or effective, and another 90 percent said that they would either recommend—or already had recommended—that their peers use the program.

“Built on the coherence and progressions in the standards, and designed with tasks, norms, and routines to help teachers engage students in a problem-solving classroom, the Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math curriculum gives us a bearing on a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics,” says lead author Bill McCallum. “I am proud of the finely crafted work of our team of teachers and mathematicians.”

The math curriculum is expected to give districts an 80% overall savings versus the cost of adopting materials from traditional publishers. Districts need only invest in implementation services, such as printing and professional development, which Open Up Resources provides. The nonprofit reinvests revenues from those services in the continuous improvement of the materials.

With more than $14 million in support from philanthropies including the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Open Up Resources partners with expert content creators to make best-in-class OER curricula available to school districts everywhere. The nonprofit will soon release an openly licensed K–5 Language Arts curriculum developed in partnership with vaunted turnaround specialist EL Education, and it has two more curricula currently in development, including a high school math curriculum authored by Illustrative Mathematics.

Districts interested in Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math can visit

Open Up Resources is a nonprofit that develops the highest quality K–12 curricula available and provides them to districts for free, as open educational resources, to promote instructional equity. Formerly the K–12 OER Collaborative, Open Up Resources partners with the country’s foremost materials experts to create superb instructional materials, then equips districts with the support they need to implement with fidelity. Its mission: to provide students with equal access to rigorous, standards-aligned materials, while easing adoption by districts.

About the Author:

Abi Mandelbaum

Abi Mandelbaum is CEO of YouVisit.

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