Examples of Common Core Raising the Bar
The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics will be implemented in almost every state across the nation in the 2014-2015 school year. Many states have already begun to phase in the implementation of the Math Common Core. The Math Common Core State Standards require greater focus by teachers and deeper knowledge by students than many previous state standards. Students will need to calculate accurately, understand mathematical concepts beyond “how to get the answer” and choose among mathematical concepts to solve real-world problems, while proving, defending and evaluating solutions.
The new standards stress not only procedural skill but also conceptual understanding, to make sure students are learning and absorbing the critical information they need to succeed at higher levels. Common Core State Standards are different from the current practices by which many students learn enough to get by on the next test, but forget it shortly thereafter, only to review it again the following year.
The Math Common Core State Standards require:
|Shifts in Mathematics|
|1||Focus||Teachers significantly narrow and deepen the scope of how time and energy is spent in the math classroom. They do so in order to focus deeply on only the concepts that are most important.|
|2||Coherence||Principals and teachers carefully connect the learning within and across grades so that students can build new understanding onto foundations built in previous years.|
|3||Fluency||Students are expected to have speed and accuracy with simple calculations; teachers structure class time and/or homework time for students to memorize core functions through repetition.|
|4||Deep Understanding||Students deeply understand and can operate easily within a math concept before moving on. They learn more than the trick to get the answer right. They learn the reasoning behind the math.|
|5||Application||Students are expected to choose the appropriate concept for application even when they are not prompted to do so.|
|6||Dual Intensity||Students are practicing and understanding. There is more than a balance between these two things in the classroom – both are occurring with intensity.|
The Math Common Core State Standards emphasize real-world multi-step problems worth doing! The standards ask teachers to focus and spend more time on fewer, more important concepts so students can build conceptual understanding, achieve procedural skill and fluency, and learn how to transfer what they know to solve real-world problems in and out of the math classroom.
Here are a few examples of how expectations have increased:
|Increased Expectations of Student Tasks|
|Rather than simply counting to 20 in Kindergarten…||Students will count to 100 by ones and by tens (eg. 10, 20, 30, 40, etc).|
|Rather than 6th grade students simply multiplying and dividing fractions…||5th grade students will have to multiply and divide fractions to solve real-world problems.|
|Rather than simply asking a student to calculate the perimeter, surface areas and volume of 3-D figure…||The student will have to calculate the perimeter, surface areas and volume of the sections of a garden, and make a sketch based on their calculations. They must then figure out how much soil is needed and how many tomato and lettuce plants to buy, given their cost, the garden’s size and each plant’s need for space. The student also will have to show how his/her project will stay within the allotted budget.|
|Rather than asking students the following: Max bought two items on sale. One item was 10% off, and one item was 20% off. Determine how much money was saved altogether?||The student will be presented with the amount Max thinks he saved, such as “Max says he saved 15% altogether,” and then asked “Could this be right?” or “Could this be wrong?” The student then has to justify his or her answer.|