Creating engaging mathematics learning experiences has long been a focus of TERC’s work. In 2000, TERC widened its reach to include adult math learners with a major grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the EMPower (Extending Mathematical Power) project. EMPower provided the springboard for a constellation of professional development and curricular materials development projects. In addition to multi-faceted research, curriculum, and professional development work supported by the National Science Foundation, we have worked with individual states, districts, and networks — customizing products and professional development to meet authentic needs.

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Current Projects

SABES Mathematics and Adult Numeracy Curriculum & Instruction PD Center

In 2014, the Adult Numeracy Center at TERC was chosen to be the new SABES Mathematics and Adult Numeracy Curriculum & Instruction PD Center. The Center serves education practitioners and administrators in Massachusetts by offering math professional development on a variety of topics in both face-to-face and online formats, both synchronous and asynchronous. Our portfolio of offerings covers a range of topics including math content, instructional strategies for in-person and remote instruction, teaching strategies for ESOL learners and students with learning disabilities/differences (LD), research on adult numeracy learning, implementation strategies for the College and Career Readiness Standards for Mathematics, and integration of math with digital literacy. 

Funder: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 


Curriculum for Adults Learning Math (CALM) Professional Development

CALM is a CCRSAE-aligned curriculum that is designed to build strong conceptual understanding of Core Math Concepts through visual models that spark dialogue and give teachers insight into student’s reasoning. The Adult Numeracy Center is the sole provider of professional development support for CALM. Note: CALM PD support is free to Massachusetts adult ed teachers but available to other states for a fee.


Download an Info Sheet on CALM

Adults Reaching Algebra Readiness (AR)2

Adults Reaching Algebra Readiness, or (AR)2 , is a research-based professional development series building upon the content presented in the ANI (Adult Numeracy Instruction) professional development project. During the sessions, teachers build on their own conceptual understanding of algebraic topics while learning new ways to teach for understanding. Participants meet over the course of three, 2-day face-to-face sessions and participate in support activities between each session. This PD series was designed to make direct connections to the College and Career Readiness Standards for Mathematics. For more details on session content and the andragogy behind the training, please contact

EMPower™ teacher and student book series

EMPower is a series of seven titles that fills the tremendous need for a math and numeracy program for adults who need to build a foundation for higher level math. EMPower helps adults develop mathematical proficiency to more effectively engage with the world, whether that be at work, at home as parents and caregivers, in the community, or as they seek high school credentials and further education. The math is taught conceptually through collaborative activities and real-world applications for adults. EMPower was written by adult education professionals and field-tested in adult education programs. The development of EMPower was funded by the National Science Foundation, Grant No. ESI-9911410. 


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EMPower™ Professional Development Workshops 

EMPower Professional Development Workshops are an opportunity for adult numeracy teachers interested in maximizing the quality of mathematics instruction for adults and out-of-school youth. EMPower workshops make math accessible to teachers at all levels of “math comfort”—from the skittish to the confident. Together, teachers expand their ideas of what it means to do math, focusing on understanding, communication, and problem-solving (in adult contexts) with a variety of approaches and strategies.

EMPower workshops are available for state- or program-based groups. Contact for more details.

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Other Projects

Statistics for Action (SfA)

Statistics for Action (SfA) has developed free, math-rich materials that enable community members to interpret environmental test results, make informed decisions based on data, and use numbers to convincingly communicate concerns to officials and neighbors. 

Funder: National Science Foundation, Grant No. DRL-0812954. 


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TIAN (Teachers Investigating Adult Numeracy)

The mathematics portion of high school equivalency (HSE) exams generally has the lowest passing rate, one indication of the need for professional development for teachers that builds their understanding and instructional abilities in mathematics. TERC, in partnership with the Center for Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee, developed TIAN, an approach to standards-based mathematics in-service professional development, using each state’s standards and the EMPower program. TIAN uses teacher inquiry and reflective learning to engage teachers in learning how to design and implement effective mathematics instructional approaches for algebra and data analysis. The TIAN approach builds on the team’s groundbreaking work in standards and curricular materials development in adult mathematics education and in collaborative professional development. Key components of the year-long model include an initial institute on data, a second institute on algebra, classroom investigations, regional teacher meetings between institutes, website support, and a final institute. TIAN was piloted and field-tested with math teachers in six states whose adult students have math skills at the ABE, pre-HSE, and HSE levels. 

Funder: National Science Foundation, Grant No. ESI-0455610.