Monday, July 15, 2013

I counted today...

For months (maybe even years), my supervisors have been saying that what's so great about the Common Core is that it delves deep into math to develop understanding instead of glossing over a bunch of topics at an introductory level.  OK, that sounds good.  When asked how we're going to accomplish this deep mathematical thinking, the answer has always been that Common Core will address "less standards" than our previous state curriculum. 

Yesterday and today, I spent several hours some time typing up each of the standards on a separate sheet so I can display them as we cover them.  This is something I always intended to do with my old curriculum, but never got around to.  We're only required to post our "know and show" in kid-friendly language.

So, I decided to count the standards to see how they really stack up.

8th grade math:
33 CC Standards
61 State Standards of which 49 are assessed.  

OK, I can see what they are talking about with this.  Depending on how you look at it, we've eliminated either 1/2 or 1/3 of the standards.  We've eliminated probability entirely and measurement has been condensed down to just dealing with volume, so the time we would have used on those lessons can be reallocated to other topics.   I'm still a bit worried about some standards like, "Explain a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem and its converse" and what that might look like as an assessment, but we'll do our best!  Let's see how they did with Algebra. 

Algebra I:
60 CC Standards (not counting the standards that appear in two units twice)
15 State Standards, all of which are assessed

What on Earth?  Did we seriously just quadruple the number of standards?  I can already envision the bottleneck that is going to happen as kids reach Algebra in 9th grade.  My school has 90 minute blocks all year for math.  The high school has 90 minute semester-long courses.  On average, you're going to have to help students master one standard per day when you account for the normal interruptions to a semester like testing, assemblies, unusual schedules, and the like.  Uh-huh. 


  1. the fun with the CC standards really hits when you look at the Alg 2 standards. Chances are your students will be taking this class when they reach the tests as juniors. Question then becomes, which of the higher leveled standards do you relegate to a class beyond Alg 2 and what content to you plan to miss (ie teach after the test is given to your juniors).

    In my school we do alg 2 after alg 1, so our problems lie with geometry.


    1. I haven't been involved in the Algebra II discussions at all. We're going back to the Alg I, Geom, Alg II progression after a trial round with my students doing Alg II following Alg I two years ago.

      One thing that will end up helping me is the timing of the PARCC tests will be later in the year than our current tests which are given the first week of March. Our school year runs late August to early/mid June, so March testing has been approximately 2/3 of the way through the year, much too early for my liking.