Thursday, January 29, 2015

Common Core Standards for Mathematics

The Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSM) were released in June 2010. Launched by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Common Core Standards represent a set of expectations for student knowledge and skills that high school graduates need to master to succeed in college and careers.

State standards had been around since the early 1990's and by the the year 2000, every state had adopted its own standards for what students learn in grades 3 through 8. The Common Core Initiative was intended to to create national standards, with the hope of helping students succeed.

CCSM implementation planning started in 2011. By 2012 schools in various states were providing professional development for teachers. Today, many states are highly focused on implementing these standards.

Most experts agree that the new standards are more challenging than the previous state standards states and that there are important differences in the skills and knowledge expected from students for each of the grades.

For the past few years, math teachers across the country have been struggling to understand and implement the CCSM -- even with profession development and curriculum guides. One of the biggest challenges for them is to create lesson plans that adhere to the CCSM. Moreover, teacher evaluations in many schools are now based on implementing these standards. As a result, some teachers are overwhelmed and confused.

Many parents are concerned that the CCSM have much more emphasis on concepts and less on practice. After all, math has always been a subject that requires practice -- especially in the primary grades.

Hopefully, students will succeed in time, as the CCSM intended. But for now, there is some controversy and confusion. Not everyone is informed about facts versus myths. 

Has your school adopted the Common Core Standards for Mathematics? Take my anonymous poll. It only takes a second, so please vote now.