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!