The educational standards in the United States varied from state to state as there was no common curriculum across the country. Finding their students lagging behind international students in mathematical understanding and application of math concepts, the Federal Government embarked upon an initiative to enhance the mathematical skill of US students to bring them on par with international students. Accordingly, the Common Core Standard in Math and English language was evolved to improve students’ skills in these areas. The Common Core Standard was adopted by 45 States with agreed standards for each grade.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) published educational recommendations in mathematics education describing the mathematical knowledge, skills and pedagogical emphases from kindergarten through high school. These standards define what students of each grade should learn and able to understand at the end of the grade. The teachers should devise a proper assessment method to know how much the student has learnt and understood. This can be done by asking a student to justify a rule or statement in mathematics so that his understanding can be evaluated.
The Common Core Math Standards are built on the premise that students are imparted the necessary knowledge and skills that make them succeed in their career. Faced with criticism from many parents, a better understanding is essential for implementing the new standards.
The major aspects of common core math are as follows:
Greater focus on fewer topics. The previous education system was miles wide and inch deep, while common core is narrow and deep. For Example, middle school math in common core focuses on Ratios and proportions, algebraic expressions and equations in Grade 6, Arithmetic of Rational Numbers in Grade 7 and Linear Algebra and Functions in Grade 8. Such a dedicated approach helps students gain a solid understanding, fluency and to apply math in real world situations.
Instead of learning math as a disconnected topic, the standards are designed to progress from grade to grade in a coherent manner. Foundations of higher learning are laid at the elementary level continuing in middle school math and so on.
In the middle school math classroom, technology can be used to help students reach mastery of these Common Core skills. A cursory glance at the middle school math curriculum reveals how teachers can promote engagement through student-centered exploration of this skill, using technology.