Making Sense of the Math
Common Core in Practice
November 12, 2014
This special report—the latest in an ongoing series on high-priority issues in K-12 education—looks at how the Common Core State Standards are changing instruction in mathematics. It explores how schools and teachers are adjusting their practices and shows where there are gaps in support and understanding.
- Standards 'Plus' Standards Spur Course ChangesClose readers of the common-core standards for math will notice that in the high school section, some items are marked with a plus sign (+). Those are the so-called "plus standards," designed to go beyond the general expectations and prepare students for advanced math courses.Standards Math Instructional Materials VettedA new group billing itself as a "Consumer Reports for school materials" will soon begin posting free online reviews of major textbooks and curricula that purport to be aligned to the Common Core State Standards—an effort, some say, that has the potential to shake up the market.Standards Researcher Isolates Common-Core Math Implementation ProblemsIn a recent talk for education journalists, William Schmidt, a researcher and education professor at Michigan State University, in East Lansing, laid out what he sees as the four major problems with how the Common Core State Standards for math are being implemented in schools.Standards Approach to Fractions Seen as Key Shift in Common StandardsThe common core's emphasis on fractions as points on a number line offers a window into the framework's divergence from past conventions.Standards Under Common Core, Teachers Band Together to Build Math 'Coherence'The common standards for math put a heavy emphasis on coherent instruction, prompting efforts to familiarize teachers with standards for grade levels beyond their own.Standards In Light of Common Core, Ed. Schools Look to Transform Math-Teacher PrepA unique partnership of education schools is exploring ways to adapt secondary-math training programs to the new math standards.Standards Common-Core Math Standards Put New Focus on English-LearnersWith their heightened emphasis on language and explication, the new math standards pose unique challenges for students who are not fully proficient in English.Federal Math-Exam Performance Tasks Ratchet Up Expectations, AnxietyThe state consortia charged with developing common-core-aligned assessments take steps to address concerns about potential bias and difficulty level in the performance-based questions.Standards In Transition to Common Core, Some High Schools Turn to 'Integrated' MathLong a staple of the high school curriculum, the mathematics-course sequence of Algebra 1, geometry, and Algebra 2 is facing a budding challenge as schools transition to the Common Core State Standards.
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