Common Core Math Curriculum: How Do We Know It’s Aligned?


As more and more teachers become familiar with the common core math standards, the question that is beginning to crop up is,  “What curriculum (ie. textbook) is going to be aligned to the common core?”.  My standard response has been two-fold.  My inclination is that most companies will SAY they are aligned to the common core; after all, they cover most of the content somewhere in the book.  Of course my reaction to that is, “Buyer Beware”.   Like all good consumers, we will have to investigate the claims made by the textbook companies and make an informed decision.  We know that not only must the content match the grade levels to which it has been assigned  but we must also take into account the 8 Standards for Mathematical Practice and the College and Career Readiness Standards that play an equally important role in the effectiveness of the common core.  As districts look toward adoption of textbooks, or make a decision to write their own curriculum there will be certain criteria they need to follow to align to the common core.

The good news is we are not alone in this process.  Many groups have already begun to tackle this issue and have developed rubrics or checklists to make the search easier.  One such document, that contains a set of rubrics for elementary through high school curriculum is the Common Core State Standards Mathematics Curriculum Materials Analysis Project.  This work, supported by the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Brookhill Foundation, and Texas Instruments, will assist reviewers in using appropriate criteria for choosing mathematics curricula.

In her blog post,Teacher Checklist:  How to Choose the Right Textbook, Jennifer Chintala shares a checklist she found online which could be used by districts to evaluate curriculum for the common core.

Al Cuoco recommends choosing curriculum attuned to the 8 Standards for Mathematical Practices and his comments can be found in this two page essay.

Each of these resources will be posted to the resources tab on this site and as we find more that might be helpful to schools who are in the process of textbook adoption we will continue to add them,  so check back often.

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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