"There is no one way"

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Common Core

Now that I'm a freelance math education consultant and curriculum developer, I need to pay attention to the Common Core State Standards as they affect everything I do in my professional life. Merely listening to talks about the standards, and reading angry posts about them did not provide a lot of information. On the other hand, actually reading the standards turned out to be really boring.

So as to be able to maintain my focus, I  ended up giving myself a task: I would try to organize the high school standards in a way that I believe is realistic given students' mathematical maturity in grades 9-12, trying to stay close to a sequence I know works reasonably well. This was not easy to do, but I managed to get through the whole thing in time for a talk I gave in November. It took much longer to write up my conclusions, and to incorporate feedback from trusted friends, but I'm finally done.

The short version:
  • I like the direction the CCSSM takes in high school in its stated goals, in the shifts in algebra and geometry content, and in the acknowledgment of a central role for technology.
  • I don't like the unrealistic implementation timetables, the shrinkage of geometry, the fact that there are way, way too many standards, and the fact that many come too soon.
  • I hate the tie-in with high-stakes tests.
But please, don't jump to conclusions about my views based on this summary. If this topic matters to you, please take the time to read the paper. Alas, it's long (21 pages.)

Read it online, or better, download the PDF.
Read about some of the responses I got here.
A compilation of all my Common-Core-related posts.

--Henri

PS: Just to be clear: the paper is a summary of my views about the high school CCSSM. It is not an attempt at reorganizing the standards, even though I have no doubt I would be qualified to attempt such a project.

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