Potential Impact of the Common Core Mathematics Standards on the American Curriculum
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In June of 2010, the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM) were introduced in the U.S. Long before the advent of the CCSSM, American schools had a de facto national mathematics curriculum, namely, the curriculum dictated by school mathematics textbooks. While there are some formal differences among these books, the underlying mathematics is quite similar throughout. The resulting curriculum distorts mathematics in the sense that it often withholds precise definitions and logical reasoning, fails to point out interconnections between major topics such as whole numbers and fractions, and employs ambiguous language that ultimately leads to widespread non-learning. The CCSSM make a conscientious attempt to address many of these problems and, in the process, raise the demand on teachers’ content knowledge for a successful implementation of these standards. This article examines, strictly from an American perspective, some of the mathematical issues (primarily in grades 4–12) that arise during the transition from the de facto curriculum to the curriculum envisioned by the CCSSM. Although the CCSSM would seem to be strictly an American concern, these mathematical issues transcend national boundaries because there are very few deviations in the K-12 curriculum across nations (for the K-8 curriculum, see p. 3-31 to p. 3-33 of National Mathematics Advisory Panel 2008).
KeywordsCommon Core Standards Curriculum Content knowledge Definition Reasoning
I am grateful to Larry Francis for his corrections and useful suggestions.
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