Frequently Asked Questions

IM Certified™ Curricula

Who authored the IM Certified math curricula?

IM Certified curriculum is authored and maintained exclusively by Illustrative Mathematics, led by noted mathematician and standards author Dr. Bill McCallum. The Illustrative Mathematics team has extensive experience with materials creation based on years of providing free K–12 materials and resources.

Check out the IM Authors:

IM K–5 Math v.1

IM 6–8 Math v.III

IM 9–12 Math v.I

What is common across IM Certified curricula?

  • problem-based
  • 5 practices framework
  • universal design for learning
  • embedded supports for:
    • students with disabilities
    • English learners
  • extensions for students who are ready for more
  • instructional routines
  • activity and lesson structure
  • practice problem sets with built-in cumulative review

Are the IM Certified curricula core programs or supplemental?

Our materials are designed for full-course use as a core program to support an aligned, coherent progression within and across grades.

It is my understanding that Illustrative Mathematics releases it’s curricula as OER. What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

OER are freely available materials that can be downloaded, edited, and shared to better serve all students. OER license types vary: some OER allow free download and use, while others also allow adaptation.

How can I know that OER Materials are high-quality?

All of the IM K–12 Math curricula are research-driven, problem-based, and fully aligned to college and career-ready standards to ensure teachers have the tools needed to facilitate student success. IM Certified K–12 Math has been reviewed by IM to ensure that it maintains the rigor, scope, and sequence envisioned by the developers and meets the high standards expected by IM’s customers. In fact, EdReports, an independent nonprofit that reviews K–12 instructional materials, said IM Certified 6–8 Math and IM Certified 9–12 Math met all expectations across all three gateways for focus, coherence, rigor, mathematical practices, and usability.

What kinds of extra supports are available with IM curricula?

  • All lessons include built-in supports for English learners and students with disabilities.
  • Most lessons have extensions for students who are ready to go more deeply into the mathematics.
  • There are additional lessons for students in Algebra 1 who need more support that could be used in an extended block. Algebra 1 offers a full year of support material that is aligned to the curriculum.
  • There are family support materials to help families understand the mathematical work that their students are doing.

How long are the lessons in curriculum?

Each lesson is designed for a 50-minute class period. For educators with different class period lengths, IM provides guidance of where material can be safely added or removed to support the individual needs of teachers.

Do the curricula include assessments?

  • Yes. The following assessments are included in every unit:
    • pre-unit diagnostic assessments
    • embedded formative assessments
    • practice problems
    • end-of-unit summative assessments
    • mid-unit assessments (for longer units)

If you’d like to learn more about additional assessment options, please look into IM’s Certified partners.

How does IM’s assessment design correlate to the design of other widely-administered assessments like SAT, ACT, PARCC, and SBAC?

To the extent that these other assessments are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, the assessments included in IM’s curricular materials assess the same content knowledge. In designing our assessments, we surveyed item types that are commonly used. As a result, our assessments include multiple choice, multiple response, short answer, restricted constructed response, and extended response item types. The purpose of this choice was to give students opportunities to encounter these item types on summative assessments throughout the year to gain familiarity and comfort. Additionally, we provide scoring rubrics for restricted constructed response and extended response items that mirror the scoring guidance for other widely-administered assessments. More information about assessment design is available in the curriculum teacher guides.

Are the lessons aligned to the standards?

Yes, each lesson displays the alignment to the standards. Practice problems indicate the lesson to which they are aligned, and the standards alignment can be inferred by looking at the standards aligned to that lesson.

How did you determine the sequence of the curriculum?

The order of units was thoughtfully designed so that concepts can be developed in a coherent way. Learning is more sticky when new concepts are connected to existing knowledge, and a coherent curriculum can take advantage of that. For example, the area of a triangle (developed in grade 6, unit 1) is used as a context to write and solve equations (in grade 6, unit 6). Another example: After learning about proportional relationships in grade 7, unit 2, students learn that pi is the constant of proportionality between diameter and circumference of a circle in unit 3. Additionally, these examples show how supporting work is used to support understanding of major work of the grade.

Why are there units dedicated to supporting work of the grade?

The supporting work of the grade provides students with more opportunity to solidify conceptual understanding and build fluency for the major work of the grade. For example, unit 1 in grade 6 is Area and Surface Area, which is supporting work of the grade. This unit reviews arithmetic and provides a context and application for work in units 4 and 5, Operations and Fractions.

My district’s pacing is different. Can I teach the units in a different order?

When considering a change in unit order, it’s important to consider the original flow of the curriculum as much as possible, so various components do not lose impact. For example, distributed practice, pre-unit diagnostics, and end-of-unit assessments can still be used, but slight modifications may be necessary. Procedural fluency is built into the activities and practice problems in a progressive manner as students move through the units. Development of concepts also builds over time through a progression of units and is a consideration when choosing and ordering the units as well. We recommend consulting the Unit Dependency Chart, designed by Illustrative Mathematics, when considering the order of units.

How do the curricula integrate the standards for mathematical practice?

At the beginning of each lesson, a narrative describes the lesson’s goals and addresses how these goals will be accomplished. A description of the way in which the mathematical practices come into play in the lesson is included in these narratives.

Do you have any resources for families?

Every unit in each curriculum includes a section called Family Support Materials, which describes in plain language the big ideas students will encounter. These resources provide an overview of the mathematics your student is learning, detail what to expect as the learning deepens, and include questions that promote conversation about the mathematics.

What is the difference between the lesson synthesis and the lesson summary?

The lesson synthesis is included in the teacher materials, and is a plan for five minutes at the end of the lesson when the teacher helps the students wrap up the main points of the lesson. The lesson summary is included in student materials, and is written to help summarize the main mathematical points of a lesson, including any new vocabulary, in student-friendly language. They are meant for students to read on their own time, or perhaps to read to help catch up on a day they were absent. They are also useful for families who want to understand in more detail what their student is learning.

Where are IM Certified K–5 Math, 6–8 Math, and 9–12 Math available?

IM 6–8 Math and IM 9–12 Math are available from our Certified Partners: Kendall Hunt, LearnZillion, and McGraw-Hill Education. IM K–5 Math will be available for Fall 2021—learn more here.

IM Certified Partners

What is IM Certified?

IM Certified means that educators can have the assurance that an IM Certified partner:

  • has actively collaborated with IM to enhance the material without negatively impacting outcomes
  • strategically aligns to IM’s mission and goals
  • gives back to the ongoing development of the curriculum and professional learning so that all learners benefit

Who is partnered with Illustrative Mathematics?

IM has three IM Certified curriculum partners: Kendall Hunt, LearnZillion, and McGraw-Hill Education. IM has six seven IM Certified IM Professional Learning partners: CREC, CenterPoint Education Solutions, Kendall Hunt, LearnZillion, Mathematics Institute of Wisconsin, McGraw-Hill Education, and MMSLN. IM has one partner that provides interim assessments aligned with IM 6–8 Math v.III: CenterPoint Education. IM Certified partners share our commitment to providing the IM Certified curricula and professional learning to all teachers as it is meant to be experienced, in the format they need to ensure success. (Move this last sentence and make it the first sentence.)

Is Illustrative Mathematics in partnership with Open Up Resources?

No, Illustrative Mathematics and Open Up Resources have decided to fulfill their respective missions through different paths. Illustrative Mathematics is committed to always offering a freely available version of all of our curricula.

IM 6–8 Math Accelerated

What is IM 6–8 Math Accelerated?

IM 6–8 Math Accelerated is a compressed version of IM 6–8 MathTM v.III. It includes all of the standards in IM 6–8 Math and compacts them into a two-year curriculum meant to be covered during the 6th and 7th year grades.

How do I know that IM 6–8 Math Accelerated is IM Certified?

Because there are numerous versions of I’M curricula offered in the market, we created the IM Certification distinction for educators to easily identify the IM curricula that is directly from IM and guarantees the critical oversight, review, and quality expected from IM and the IM authors. Always look for the IM Certified logo. IM Certified curricula is available exclusively from the three IM Certified Distribution Partners: Kendall Hunt, LearnZillion, and McGraw-Hill.  

How is IM 6–8 Math Accelerated different from other accelerated programs?

The vast majority of traditional accelerated programs advance students by skipping levels or entire grades. With the current standards-based model of mathematics education, this approach is creating significant knowledge gaps in students as they approach higher grade-level mathematics. To address this issue, IM authored IM 6–8 Math Accelerated which does not jeopardize the understanding of foundational concepts by compacting the curriculum so no crucial mathematical concepts are missed. 

Who is IM 6–8 Math Accelerated for?

Thoughtful accelerated programs compact the same content into a shorter time period and don’t skip material altogether. This means that students interested in accelerating in math before high school must be prepared to encounter new content at a faster pace than they are used to. Educators need a comprehensive and equitable evaluative process for identifying students for acceleration. IM believes IM 6–8 Math Accelerated is appropriate for a very small subset of students that regularly consume extension and enrichment materials provided in the regular curriculum and have displayed exceptional rigor in—and fluency and understanding of—mathematics.

What courses are being compressed?

IM 6–8 Math grades 6, 7, and 8 are being compressed into 2 courses which we anticipate students will take during their 6th and 7th grade years.

Where is the material from?

All activities, practice problems, and assessment problems are from IM 6–8 Math certified by IM and IM authors. The majority of the in-class material is the same as in IM 6–8 Math. In some instances, two lessons or activities from IM 6–8 Math are merged into one for Accelerated. 

What is the same about Accelerated as IM 6-8 math?

The unit and lesson structure of IM 6–8 Math Accelerated follows the same flow as IM 6–8 Math (and IM 9–12 Math) certified by IM. Each unit starts with an invitation to the mathematics, followed by a deep study of targeted concepts and procedures, and ends with an opportunity to consolidate and apply learning. Lessons follow this structure by starting with a warm-up, followed by several activities, then a lesson synthesis, and finally, a cool-down which allows the students to demonstrate how they are consolidating and applying the math they just worked with.

Units have Check Your Readiness assessments for teachers to use as a pre-diagnostic. All units have an end-of-unit assessment, with longer units including mid-unit assessments.

The same instructional routines, math language routines, and supports found in IM 6–8 Math are in IM 6–8 Math Accelerated. Digital versions of activities are present with the same applets, though some text related to an applet may be modified in merged activities.

What’s different about IM 6–8 Math Accelerated from IM 6–8 Math?

In order to address all the grade 6, 7, and 8 standards in two years time instead of three, many lessons that fall under the category of additional practice in IM 6–8 Math have either been made optional or removed from the Accelerated courses.

What additional support materials are provided to teachers using IM 6–8 Math Accelerated?

To aid teachers in making sense of the materials created from compacting activities from IM 6–8 Math, additional guidance is provided at the activity level, lesson level, unit level, and assessment level.