Friday, July 25, 2014

What are (and aren't) the CCSS?

There is some real confusion about the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics [CCSSM]. For example, check out the #CCSStime Twitter feed from last night. Maybe this will help.

This is NOT an example of a CCSSM:
from Liberty Unyielding
It is a curricular resource selected by a district, school, or teacher to support the development of some objective. That objective might be aligned with the CCSSM, but there is no evidence on the sheet that this is the case.

Here is a curricular resource that claims to be aligned with the CCSSM:
from Create * Teach * Share
The 3.NBT.3 notation in the upper-righthand corner indicates the standard this worksheet is meant to address. It is up to the district, school, or teacher to determine if this resource does indeed meet the standard. Still, this is NOT an example of a CCSSM.

This IS a CCSSM:

You can be sure of its authenticity because it comes from this document, Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Anything not found in this document (like the curricular resources provided above) are not a part of the CCSSM.

When it comes to development and selection of curricular resources, the CCSSM is quite explicit; it leaves these decisions to the teachers. It does not endorse any set of resources or even a sequence of topics. From the Introduction:
These Standards do not dictate curriculum or teaching methods. For example, just because topic A appears before topic B in the standards for a given grade, it does not necessarily mean that topic A must be taught before topic B. A teacher might prefer to teach topic B before topic A, or might choose to highlight connections by teaching topic A and topic B at the same time. Or, a teacher might prefer to teach a topic of his or her own choosing that leads, as a byproduct, to students reaching the standards for topics A and B.
I am not defending the CCSSM. We can, and should, have a debate about something as important as a national set of mathematics standards. But let us have an informed debate, which starts with actually reading the document.