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Implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics

Posted by Cindy Bryant

Jul 23, 2013 3:01:00 PM

Even though the United States was the first country to establish basic education as a right of every child, other countries have been ahead in identifying common standards for all students. Two decades ago, in an effort to improve education, states began setting their own standards defining what students should know and be able to do. And here we are today, with a common set of standards for all students that have been identified by mathematics educators from all levels from across the United States as the knowledge and skills that students need in order to be college and career ready.

“These standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.” http://www.corestandards.org/

We have before us the greatest opportunity in history to improve mathematics education in the U.S. as we embrace and implement the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM). This opportunity does not come without challenges, the greatest of which may be the actual implementation of the standards. Not only do the standards include shifts and changes outlined in the content standards, but there’s also the inclusion of the practice standards. Add to this the ever present assessment/performance issue that is often foremost in the mind of the classroom teacher. And then there’s the plethora of CCSSM resources to sift through to determine quality and use. It can all be mind boggling . . . So, how do we go about implementing the CCSSM in a common sense manner?

While there are no foolproof plans for implementation of the CCSSM, or any other set of standards for that matter, there are deliberate and thoughtful steps that can be taken to support a more smooth transition. These FOCUS recommendations (listed below) are offered to aid in the implementation and transition to the CCSSM. The recommendations encourage a thorough look at the entire standards document, illustrate the spirit and intent of the standards, stress beginning with what’s currently being done well, include quality resources, and suggest immediate standardization of mathematics classrooms.   

  • Familiarize yourself with the standards
  • Overcome the desire to create a checklist
  • Consider the content
  • Utilize sound resources
  • Standardize your classroom


Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” Some view the CCSSM as another passing trend and embrace the attitude of “this too shall pass.” As you FOCUS on the standards, hopefully you will begin to view the CCSSM not as obstacles but as opportunities for increased understanding and learning of mathematics for all K – 12 students. 

Topics: Implementing the Common Core, Resources, Teaching & Learning, Algebra & Algebra Readiness

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