Educational standards are a set of common learning goals that define what a student should learn at each grade level. Common Core State Standards, which include Common Core Math, are the educational standards developed by a consortium of federal and state education experts to standardize the curriculum set by each state. Each state still has the freedom to design its own curriculum and can decide whether or not to inculcate the Common Core standards. With the mission to prepare America’s students for success, Common Core State Standards has helped the dated education system get a much-needed breath of fresh air.
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Shortcomings of the Traditional Standards of Education
Our traditional education system is too algorithmic or procedural. It doesn’t tell the students why they are doing what they are doing, but it follows what feels like a mechanical process. Common Core Math Standards have managed to change that entirely. Under the Common Core Math Standards, math operations are carried out in such a way that they are easy to understand.
To understand the weaknesses of the current education system, we just need to compare the scores of American students with those of students from around the world. The standardized test scores indicate that American students rank among the lowest among developed countries despite its resources and due to factors beyond their control. Regrettably, this is occurring as a result of our educational system’s failure to meet the needs of our students.
The biggest problem with taking a procedural approach is that we’re creating room for errors. A student who might be thorough with the concept may not be totally comfortable with the procedural approach used to solve problems. For example, a lapse in any small step while performing subtraction can affect the final result. The worst part is that these errors may not get detected or cross-verified if we stick to the procedural approach.
And there is another big problem with our traditional education system. In the old system, different state standards chose to teach the same math concepts in different grades. For example, a family relocating to Michigan from Illinois after their child completes third grade will find that, while Michigan standards teach fractions in third grade, Illinois standards do not teach fractions until fourth grade. As a result, the child will have a difficult time coping with the new requirements, and a student who used to score high may now end up getting a low score. And this is completely unjust. According to statistics, approximately 4.8 million families relocate from one state to another every year. We must address this issue.
Why Were the Common Core Math Standards Introduced
Common Core Math Standards can solve all the problems mentioned here and much more. The new standards ignore the procedural approach in favor of emphasizing how we naturally think when working with numbers. Indeed, we have always used Common Core Math without even realizing it.
In real life, math is not procedural. It is quite in-depth, as seen in math taught in high schools and universities. So, rather than teaching the procedural approach up to high school and asking students to change their way of thinking, why don’t we teach the math that lies hidden behind the procedures?
Furthermore, the Common Core Math Standards eliminate some of the difficulties associated with migration. With the introduction of the new standards, American students can effectively learn, apply, and compete with students around the world.
Objectives of Common Core Math Standards
- Provide graduating high school students with the skills they need to be successful in either the workforce or post-secondary education.
- Boost math test scores for all American students.
- Smooth out differences between individual state curricula and practices.
Common Core Math bridges the gap between elementary and advanced math. It also helps students develop number sense at a young age. 1
What Common Core Math Brings to the Table
Common Core Math standardizes and makes quality math education available to all students, regardless of zip code. It raises the bar and makes American students more competitive on a global scale. It is now possible to assess and compare students from different states since their schools follow the same standards.
There is a big focus on bridging the gap between elementary math, which is procedural, and advanced math. The new standards encourage students to practice real-world problem solving by reasoning and identifying patterns whenever possible. At the same time, the new standards attempt to paint a visual picture of every concept taught to the student by including relevant diagrams and graphs wherever possible.
Furthermore, Common Core Math focuses on mental math techniques, which helps all students unlock various math strategies at a young age. In order to make math more familiar to us, subtraction is now taught in a way that mimics our mental calculations. For example, if a customer pays $10 for an $8.26 total bill at a supermarket, the cashier will count the change and return it to the customer. The cashier would give four pennies to make thirty cents ($8.26 + $0.04 = $8.30), twenty cents to make fifty cents ($8.30 + $0.20 = $8.50), fifty cents to make a dollar ($8.50 + $0.50 = $9) and another dollar to make the change ($9 + $1 = $10). This method is known as the “counting up strategy,” and this is how we naturally calculate in our minds.
Since we don’t actually perform the traditional subtraction algorithm in our minds, it may seem strange to many students. The counting-up method is more relatable to everyone. Common Core Math uses the same strategy for all math concepts taught to students. 2,3
Challenges Faced by Common Core Math
- Educational institutions may face some hurdles during the transition period to the new system.
- Textbooks may have to be redesigned to adjust to the new standards.
- Some parents may find it a bit challenging to help their children with their homework as their math problems might look different from what they have learned.
- Teachers may need some training to adjust to the new style of teaching.
By tackling these challenges with time and patience, we can raise the educational standards for every student in America. We have yet to see the true potential of the new Common Core State Standards because of a lack of resources during this transition. BYJU’s FutureSchool can bridge this gap by helping students during the transition period and moving forward. BYJU’S FutureSchool Blog has a vast collection of learning materials and resources that adhere to the Common Core Math Standards. Our learning materials include amazing videos with best-in-class animations that will help students gain a proper understanding of the concepts they learn. There’s an option for students to take a free trial class, after which parents can enroll their children in regular online classes. And there’s more to explore at BYJU’s FutureSchool: coding, music, and much more!
- What is Common Core Math & How Is It Different Than Traditional Math? (n.d.). Retrieved June 7, 2022, from https://www.elitehometutoring.com/what-is-common-math-how-is-common-core-different-from-traditional-math/
- Common Core Math Explained in 3 Minutes | U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved June 7, 2022, from https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/blog/post/common-core-math-explained-3-minutes/43020
- The Fundamental Problem With Common Core Math | Mind Matters. (n.d.). Retrieved June 7, 2022, from https://mindmatters.ai/2021/03/the-fundamental-problem-with-common-core-math/