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Five Facts about the Mathematics Common Core Standards
posted by: Cindy Omlin | February 15, 2013, 11:27 PM   

With all the misinformation still being circulated and with the assessments for Common Core State Standards (CCSS) right around the corner, I wanted to take a moment to make sure that everyone is aware of the contents of the standards.  I’ve done this previously with English/Language Arts, and so today I will attempt to do the same with the Mathematics standards.

So, if you know nothing about the Mathematics Common Core State Standards, here is what you should know:

  • The standards decrease the amount covered each year so that teaching can be done in depth.  Every teacher knows the race to cover everything and the pressure to move on even if their students don’t know what they ought to.  CCSS wants to get rid of this and instead give teachers time to make sure that students truly know and understand what they’re being taught.  The idea is that since being taught better the first time around, there won’t have to be as much repetition and review in older grades, which will free up time to make sure that students still learn the same amount of material overall as before.
  • Mathematical practice is important. Students are expected to be fluent in arithmetic problems, memorize many basic mathematic equations (addition, multiplication, etc), be precise in the use of instruments and tools, and be proficient in the use of mathematical models and graphs. These practices are the foundation of mathematical processes and CCSS don’t want them to be abandoned.
  • Mathematical reasoning is important. The people who began to worry when reading the previous fact can now breathe a sigh of relief. The standards want students to know more than how to just get the answer.  The writers of Common Core want students to have a deep understanding of mathematics, be able to solve problems in multiple ways, and to understand why certain solutions work.
  • Models are important.  CCSS wants students to have a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and to be able to apply them in a wide variety of situations.  One of the keys to this is the creation and interpretation of mathematical models.  The standards say that models (which can include diagrams, tables, graphs, flowcharts, and various computerized outputs) allow students to analyze and explore data, and to make predictions.  The use of models, then, is the keystone to developing mathematical reasoning abilities.
  • Communication is important.  The mathematics standards not only want students to be able to problem solve, but also to communicate what they’ve found.  After all, mathematics is only a useful tool insofar as it can be used.
Originally posted by Melissa at AAE.
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