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What's Behind the Common Core Math Standards?

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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.

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Focus on Fractions

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The Common Core Standards for Mathematics, have focused on fractions, and for good reason.  In its comprehensive report on the state of math education in America, the National Math Panel said understanding fractions is "the most important foundational skill NOT developed among American students," and is key to learning Algebra.  Since fractions are the gateway to Algebra and Algebra is a required class for hi

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A Whole New Look

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For teachers who are proficient at navigating their current state standards, the Common Core Standards may have a completely different look.  In the area of mathematics, the content of the document is divided into domains, clusters, and standards.

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Deep, Not Wide

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For years, teachers have bemoaned the fact that they were forced to teach a mile wide and an inch deep.  The new Common Core State Standards for Mathematics are designed to reduce the number of concepts that will be taught at each grade level, thereby allowing teachers to devote more time and depth of instruction to each standard. 

The concepts placed at each grade level were determined based on prerequisite topics that were to have been taught in a previous grade, international comparisons and the professional judgement of educators, researchers, and mathematicians. 

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