What’s Behind the Common Core Math Standards

The release of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is a milestone in the standards movement that began more than 20 years ago when the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) published Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School. NCTM, along with the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics and other mathematics organizations, supports the goal of the CCSS to describe a coherent, focused curriculum that has realistically high expectations and supports an equitable mathematics education for all students.

The Standards for Mathematical Practice, which describe expertise that math educators at all levels seek to develop in students, is also a key component of the new Common Core Standards movement. These practices rest on key “processes and proficiencies” with longstanding importance in mathematics education, including the NCTM process standards and the strands of mathematical proficiency from the National Research Council’s report Adding It Up. The five process standards which run through all grade levels are problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representations, and connections.  The strands of proficiency specified by “Adding It Up” include:  adaptive reasoning, strategic competence, conceptual understanding, proceduaral fluency, and a productive disposition.

Other key elements in a student’s success in mathematics are: • Making sense of problems and persevering in solving them. • Reasoning abstractly and quantitatively. • Modeling with mathematics. • UsIng appropriate tools strategically.  • Attending to precision. • Looking for and making use of structure.

So, what is behind the common core standards for mathematics….RESEARCH!

Hi, I am Renee' Smith and I began teaching math in, of all places, a maximum security prison. “I was 21 years old and 99 lbs. soaking wet. Some of my students were convicted murderers and as scary as it sounds, it was incredibly sad. Many of those men had failed in the school system and then turned to crime.” That early experience with public school dropouts, cemented my resolve to help future students understand and succeed in the area of mathematics. To that end I dedicated 16 years to the classroom, teaching 5th grade math through algebra. After obtaining my Masters in Education from Baker University, I joined the ESSDACK team in 2007. I have presented at the local, state, and national levels but my most worthwhile experience at ESSDACK has been working to take the fear out of math for teachers and students alike. Although my primary focus has been providing professional development in mathematics, I also devote time to podcasting and creating materials for teachers to use in their classrooms. My podcasts include, By the Numbers, Just Desserts and Math Snacks. Working at ESSDACK has provided me the opportunity to do many of the things I love. “I have the time to research current educational practices, I get to be creative, collaborative, and I meet tons of new people."

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