Special Report
Standards News in Brief

Researcher Isolates Common-Core Math Implementation Problems

By Liana Loewus — November 14, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In 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.

Schmidt’s critique, delivered this spring at the Education Writers Association’s conference in Nashville, Tenn., was not about the standards themselves, but about how they’re trickling down to classrooms. Here’s the run-down:

• Instructional time is not well-allocated. Teachers are spending too much time on some topics and not enough on others. For example, Mr. Schmidt’s research shows that 3rd and 4th grade teachers are allocating about half the time on fractions that experts say the common standards necessitate.

• Teacher knowledge is “not where it needs to be.” Mr. Schmidt found that just half of middle school teachers self-reported that they are prepared to teach linear equations, “the dominant theme in those grades.” And less than 40 percent of 4th and 5th grade teachers said they’re ready to teach “number sets and concepts,” which Schmidt said form the background for the all-important topic of fractions.

• Teacher preparation is substandard. Mr. Schmidt’s research team found that, in the highest-performing teacher-preparation programs outside the U.S., there are nine math-related courses that virtually all teacher-candidates take. Yet just one-third of pre-service teachers in the U.S. take equivalent courses. At the bottom-performing U.S. preparation programs, that percentage goes down to 10, he said. U.S. teachers “simply are not getting an adequate background in mathematics to be able to teach the common core,” Mr. Schmidt said.

• Textbooks don’t cover the standards. In examining one popular (but unnamed) math textbook series, Mr. Schmidt found that 30 percent of the common-core standards were not being covered. Mr. Schmidt’s recent research has focused on publisher’s claims that their instructional materials are aligned with the common core, which he has called largely a “sham.”

Coverage of efforts to implement college- and career-ready standards for all students is supported in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at www.gatesfoundation.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.
A version of this article appeared in the November 12, 2014 edition of Education Week as Researcher Isolates Common-Core Math Implementation Problems

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls
Science K-12 Essentials Forum How To Teach STEM Problem Solving Skills to All K-12 Students
Join experts for a look at how experts are integrating the teaching of problem solving and entrepreneurial thinking into STEM instruction.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Modernizing Principal Support: The Road to More Connected and Effective Leaders
When principals are better equipped to lead, support, and maintain high levels of teaching and learning, outcomes for students are improved.
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Standards Social Studies Standards Spark Fierce Debate in N.C.
Advocates say the new standards are more inclusive because they give more attention to the perspectives of historically marginalized groups.
T. Keung Hui, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
6 min read
Illustration.
Kubkoo/iStock/Getty
Standards Opinion How the Failure of the Common Core Looked From the Ground
Steve Peha shares insights from his on-site professional-development work about why the common core failed, in a guest letter to Rick Hess.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards Opinion Common Core Is a Meal Kit, Not a Nothingburger
Caroline Damon argues Rick Hess and Tom Loveless sold the common core short, claiming the issue was a matter of high-quality implementation.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards How New Common Core Research Connects to Biden's Plans for Children and Families
A study of national test scores indicate the early phase of the Common Core State Standards did not help disadvantaged students.
5 min read
results 925693186 02
iStock/Getty