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The Michigan Invitational Group:
Students Using Reform Math are Tops in the Nation

Based on the TIMSS-R report and news reports

The new TIMSS-R Results <> are quite interesting. U.S. groups participating in this international comparative study include states, large school districts, and consortia of schools. The top four U.S. groups are: the Naperville school district in Illinois, the First in the World consortium on the North Shore in the Chicago area, Montgomery County in Maryland, and a 21-school consortium called the Michigan Invitational Group. The top state in the study, coming in at #7 among US groups, is Michigan.

Below are a couple of quotes from the press related to these top-scoring U.S. groups:

"A randomly selected group of Michigan eighth-graders performed better than similar groups in 12 other states in an international science and math study. ... Results also were released for a second Michigan group made up of schools that were invited to participate because they met certain criteria. The 21 schools in the Michigan Invitational Group identified themselves as using National Science Foundation materials, having a well-developed curriculum, actively using assessment data and having good communication with parents. That group -- which also represented rural and urban districts but no parochial schools -- performed better than the randomly chosen Michigan group."-- Detroit Free Press, April 5, 2023 (See full story. <> )

"While the Naperville district and the First in the World consortium on the North Shore took pride in their scores, they recognize they are blessed with resources: well-prepared pupils, highly motivated parents, safe schools, experienced teachers with advanced training, and progressive curriculum strategies that emphasize hands-on learning over rote lectures."-- Chicago Tribune, April 5, 2023


The top-scoring groups are using "hands-on learning", "progressive curriculum strategies", and "National Science Foundation materials".

The Michigan Invitational Group (MIG) is significant since it is the only top-scoring U.S. group with a diverse population. In particular:

  • MIG is a consortium of 21 schools in Michigan, including urban and rural schools, using National Science Foundation materials.-- While the state of Michigan was the top scoring state, MIG outscored the state and yet does not differ demographically from the state as a whole.
  • Among all US groups in the study, only 3 affluent suburban districts scored higher than MIG.
  • There were 3 broad levels of performance relative to the overall US score: (1) scores significantly higher than the US score; (2) scores not significantly different from the US; and (3) scores significantly lower than the US. No US states are in the top level. MIG is the only diverse U.S. group in the top level.

In some recent articles about the TIMSS-R results Secretary Paige and others worry about the performance divide between affluent and poor districts, between suburban and urban districts. The Michigan Invitational Group's performance is highly significant in this regard, showing that a diverse group of students can perform at the top level, right along with the top countries in the world and the top affluent suburban US school districts.

More information about the TIMSS-R report can be found at

Story from Detroit Free Press, April 5, 2023 can be found at

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