Common Core Math

The emphasis will be upon “increasing the child’s critical thinking skills” by teaching them the “why” of the problems before stressing “how”. “More is expected of the students,” one article declares. “While they still have to memorize or have fluency in key math functions and do the math with speed and accuracy, they will have to demonstrate a deeper understanding of key concepts before moving on.”

In other words: “ It’s not enough for a student to be able to divide one fraction by another. He or she must also “use the relationship between multiplication and division to explain that (2/3) ÷ (3/4) = 8/9, because 3/4 of 8/9 is 2/3.”

Bottom line: “This approach not only complicates the simplest of math problems; it also leads to delays. Under the Common Core Standards, students will not learn traditional methods of adding and subtracting double and triple digit numbers until fourth grade. (Currently, most schools teach these skills two years earlier.) The standard method for two and three digit multiplication is delayed until fifth grade; the standard method for long division until sixth. In the meantime, the students learn alternative strategies that are far less efficient, but that presumably help them “understand” the conceptual underpinnings.” The Atlantic

As I have said before, setting a bar for instruction is a most important thing, however, your children have a finite amount of time in school. I wonder if this method has been tested adequately to endure that delayed instruction will increase their ability to understand mathematical concepts? I truly doubt it.

Another little piece. I have an exchange student from China living with my family. Her parents send her little pamphlets of “practice problems” in use by her old school to keep her proficient at mathematics. It consists of problems done in repetition with increasing difficulty. When she came to live with us last year, I asked her if she had already taken Geometry. She told me that she did, in her 10th year. It was not until a few weeks after that that I realized she was speaking of when she was 10 years old. Yes, the beginnings of geometry taught at 10 years old in China.

So, if the standard method for two and three digit multiplication is delayed until the fifth grade, — the average American child will be 10 – 11 years old learning early elementary concepts in mathematics.

My, unless I am incorrect, and believe me I hope I am…… With the Common Core Curriculum, children will be behind in math and ahead in the reading of racy material for English class. Or ……very talented teachers will have to augment… I really think this first batch of children are going to be the guinea pigs. Do we really want that?

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