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Jennifer Gregory
Ms. Molly Daniel
ENC 2135-08
5 December 2015
Annotated Bibliography:
Gardner, Nancy, and Rod Powell. The Common Core is a change for the better. The Phi
Delta Kappan, Vol. 95, No. 4: 49-53. Journal Storage. Web. 2 Oct. 2015.
The CCSS requires much more rigor for both students and teachers. Gardner and Powell,
both high school teachers with plentiful experience, are current implementers of common
core. I will use this as support for the claim that the standards better prepare students for
college and careers. Additionally, this provides great insight on the opportunities it brings
to teachers. These standards maintain a freedom that can improve learning as the states,
districts, and teachers so choose.
Hess, Frederick, and Michael McShane. Common Core in the real world. The Phi Delta
Kappan, Vol. 95, No. 3: 61-66. Journal Storage. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
The CCSS has a domino affect on many things like tests, materials, expectations, and
new stakes. Hess is the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise
Institute. I will use this to discuss the many things these standards affect and their
difficulties. If not carried out correctly, the standards can cause harm in many places.
Lockwood, Elise, and Eric Weber. "Ways Of Thinking And Mathematical Practices."
Mathematics Teacher 108.6 (2015): 461-465. Academic Search Complete.
Web. 5 Oct. 2015.

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The Duality principal notes the important difference between understanding content and
thinking as a practice. Lockwood is an assistant mathematics professor researching
student ways of thinking about discrete mathematics. I will use this to show how these
standards approach the importance of student thinking. Certain patterns of understanding
in students will develop into a way of thinking we should be more conscious of.
Schoenfeld, Alan. Common Sense About the Common Core. The Berkley Blog.
Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
Because the standards do not come with a curriculum, educators need to focus on how
math comes alive in the classroom and provide opportunities for students to grapple with
complex concepts. Schoenfeld is a professor of education and mathematics at Berkley. I
will use this more as an overall summary of what the goals of common core are. The real
problem has more to do with politics and how we value our educators.
Stephan, Michelle L. Establishing Standards for Mathematical Practice. Mathematics
Teaching in the Middle School 19.9 (2014): 532538. Journal Storage. Web. 30
Sept. 2015.
Students need to consistently be held accountable to clear expectations in order to
successfully achieve the mathematical practices of common core. Stephan is a professor
of mathematics education interested in designing inquiry mathematics materials. I will
use this as a way to provide suggestions for specific strategies to carry out the practice
standards. Establishing norms takes time but its crucial for a smooth adoption of the
Wallender, Jennifer. "The Common Core State Standards In American Public Education:
Historical Underpinnings And Justifications." Delta Kappa Gamma

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Bulletin 80.4 (2014): 7-11. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Sept.
The CCSS have been long underway since 1892 and have gone under many committees
and acts with similar goals to commonly increase rigor and prepare students for college
through a quality education. Jennifer Wallender is a learning and teaching PHD student
and substitute teacher who researches the implementation of the ELA CCSS. I will use
this to describe the focus of common core and where it came from. These state standards
express the knowledge and skills that students need but do not express how teachers
should go about meeting these goals.
Wilhoit, Gene. Make-or-break state action. The Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 94, No. 2: 4749. Journal Storage. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
Educators must be actively engaged in professional development and collaboration in
order to be successful and implementing these standards. Gene was formally the super
intendant of education for Kentucky and Arkansas and went on to be the executive
director of the council of chief state school officers. I will use this to suggest specific
methods teachers can use to implement the standards. Because the standards ask more of
students, more is asked of teachers.
Williams, Cheryl. Just The Facts: Common Core State Standards. Educational
Horizons. Vol. 90 No. 4: 8-9. Journal Storage. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
The standards identify what skills and knowledge students need without any explicit
direction as to how they should go about achieving them. Cheryl Williams is the
executive director of the learning first alliance. I will use this to examine where the

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implementation responsibilities fall. Common Core provides fewer standards to achieve
deep analysis that educators must learn to navigate.
The Common Core State Standards have emerged with much attention and
controversy in the education system of the United States. The initiative was released in
2010 as a means to prepare students for college and careers. The mathematical standards
especially, have created quite the discussion in the few short years of implementation
across the states. Despite all the buzz, many lack a thorough understanding of what these
standards are, and what they mean for our students and teachers. The common core state
standards for mathematics go beyond content and provide standards of practice to
emphasize student problem solving, reasoning, and application. This design and focus on
college and career readiness requires an increase of rigor that will challenge but
ultimately benefit both students and teachers.
The state education standards have been long underway. The development of
common core was a lengthy and detailed process over the span of four years. The
standards for math describe the content students need to know and the practices they need
to put the content to use while emphasizing mathematical thinking. The idea for state
standards actually began in 1989 with the release of Curriculum and Evaluation
Standards by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (Schoenfeld, par. 14).
Even earlier initiatives show common themes and justifications for the CCSS.
The standards were designed to prepare students for life after school. Whether it
be the work force, or higher education, students should be learning things and developing
skills they can carry into their lives and careers. These ideas to focus on college

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preparation have a foundation as early as 1892 when the Committee of Ten attempted to
reform educational standards with this focus (Wallender, 8). The Common Core State
Standards for Mathematics will stretch learners in their conceptual understandings but
will most importantly assist in developing strategies for problem solving. The CCSM
emphasize the skills that guide student thinking which not only prepares students for
college and careers, but life (Gardner and Powell, 53).
If the standards are going to achieve this, they need to provide an increase in
rigor. After all, making sure students have achieved the skills that will serve them after
high school goes way beyond helping them ace multiple-choice tests (Gardner and
Powell, 51). In 1958, the National Defense Education Act was created to increase global
competitiveness by a means of increasing the number of college graduates in the U.S.
(Wallender, 8). In order to raise college graduation rates, students needed to be better
prepared through a more rigorous education. Despite this new focus, the National
Commission on Excellence in Education declared American schools as of 1983
inadequate and not globally competitive. This narrowed the rigorous educational focus
into a standards based education system with a more challenging curriculum (Wallender,
9). However we are still striving to be compared with high performing countries like
Japan and Finland. So why not just adopt their curriculum? Alan Schoenfeld, a professor
of education and of mathematics, states it best, if importing good curricula would solve
the problem, the problem would have been solved by now (Schoenfeld, par. 34). The
issue is much deeper and contains many aspects that should be attended to. The Common
Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice are working to rebuild the stamina
students no longer have to grapple with complex problems. The standards should cause

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students to engage in productive struggle. Ultimately, an increase in rigor will require
extensive processes that should highlight the experience of learning rather than the
finished products and answers students come to (Gardner and Powell, 51).
Additionally, the standards were designed with a goal of quality education for all.
This direction first surfaced with the war on poverty of the 60s as educational learning
gaps were identified. In 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act labored to
provide all students with a quality education (Wallender, 9). This opened the door for
standard based education and the CCSS strives to identify the most essential skills and
knowledge required of learners through the use of standards (Wiliams, 8). As previously
mentioned, the standards focus not only on content, but skill. The standards are able to
maintain the importance of quality education even through the use of common standards.
They direct the instruction of content to be taught as a context for skills (Gardner and
Powell, 49). Students will not only learn necessary information but why it is necessary.
They will often be presented content as real life situations and see its use before they
even have a chance to question, Why do I need to know this? When am I ever going to
have to use this? Most importantly the standards should provide an education that values
practical skills and promotes the journey of learning rather than the destination, or final
The very essence of these ideas is not new, but they needed to be consistent across
the states. Therefore, the Common Core State Standards were designed to provide a
commonality. All 50 states had their own standards prior to common core, creating
incoherent math education across the nation. Now, over 40 states use and are currently
implementing the common core standards (Scheonfeld, par 4). From state to state, there

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are more equal opportunities given to learners. There is a common ground for learners of
the CCSS; their focus for post-high-school success and methods of achieving this are
identical. Those who desire a quality education have it more readily available to them.
This better assists students in college preparation and gives them an equal playing field as
they approach life outside of school.
Common core is not a curriculum. The State Standards identify what is needed
without suggesting how it should be acquired or providing resources to do so. As we
demand more from our students, we demand just as much from our teachers (Williams 8).
The standards offer a clear framework of the skills students need to be able to carry out,
but it is just a framework. It needs to be filled in with content determined by local
curricula, but most importantly teacher expertise. Educators are pushed to go beyond
dispensing knowledge, and challenged to pursue the difficult task of facilitating true
learning; they must ask the difficult questions and provide an environment for students to
engage in critical thinking (Gardner and Powell, 52-53.) While, this need is easily
understood, the ability to achieve these practices are much more difficult.
Educators will need to engage in a great deal of professional development and
collaboration in order to be successful at implementing the state standards. Because
implementation and curricula is up to the individual states, districts, and schools, teacher
assistance and a plan of action must be provided from each of these educational systems.
States will need to be proactive in designing ongoing learning experiences to shift
instructional practice in line with their curriculum. Similarly, local leaders should
implement learning communities in the districts. Even principals have a vital

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responsibility; they need to be familiar with the standards and their schools curriculum in
order to help provide an instructional focus (Wilhoit, 48).
We need to provide our students with teachers who have a deep understanding of
mathematics, but to achieve this we need to take teaching seriously. We need to support
our teachers in creating classrooms that produce powerful mathematical thinkers. In order
to achieve the level of success of top performing nations, it is worth examining how their
teachers are treated. In Japan, teachers spend a decade preparing for their careers, and the
jobs themselves contain regular opportunities for educators to train with experienced
colleagues on the job (Schoenfeld, par 12). They are known for this successful method of
lesson study, which is a long-term development and research opportunity for their
classrooms (Duncan). Similarly, educators of Finland are extensively prepared and
carefully selected (Schoenfeld, par 12). In fact, the educators are recruited from the top
10 percent of college graduates. They are valued and paid accordingly. In Japan, the
government promotes teaching in high needs schools by directly paying for one third of
the salary (Duncan). Whereas teaching in the states is not highly valued or hard to come
by. They receive a poor salary are only required to pass a series of certification tests, and
depending on the state, complete a few years of college.
Additionally, once the teachers of these successful countries are in the classroom,
they are given freedom to practice as they please (Schoenfeld, par 12). In Finland, there
are no mandatory tests or exams until students finish high school. Teachers assess as they
see fit; this not only provides their students with more meaningful feedback, but also
gives teachers more time to plan and less pressure to meet annual quotas (Maes, 9).
Unfortunately, in the U.S. annual tests govern our classrooms and are used to assess our

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educators. Principals have a close eye on our teachers so that they meet certain deadlines
and test scores in line with state criteria. This pressure not only affects teachers, but our
students and their learning environment as well.
The common core provides standards for mathematical practice that allows
classrooms to attend to student thinking and skills as opposed to strictly meeting the
content of procedural standards. Taking a closer look at the Standards for Mathematical
Practice, we see that students will be challenged to think conceptually and teachers will
be stretched to teach abstractly. First, students are called to make sense of problems and
persevere in solving them. To obtain this practice, educators will frame explicit
mathematical challenges to students who will begin to make sense of what the problem is
asking. As students determine a solution process, they will be engaged in discussions
evaluating their approaches and clarifying their thinking (Noyce Foundation). Next,
students will be able to reason abstractly and quantitatively. This practice begins to
translate problem scenarios into mathematical representations. Student abilities in
decontextualizing problems, or even in some cases applying contexts, will help them
make sense of quantities and their relationships within problems.
These practices in a classroom can look very different depending on the course
and age level. However, they will both consistently engage students in mathematical
thinking. In a fifth grade classroom for example, students investigate a numeric pattern,
and more specifically, two separate ways of thinking about approaching the pattern. They
come to prefer a quantitative representation through reasoning about the two approaches.
Additionally, the students make sense of the problem and solutions presented. They are

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left to question and draw conclusions on their own to then engage in discussing the ways
they evaluated the approaches.
The third standard stresses the students ability to construct viable arguments and
critique the reasoning of others. In order for learners to analyze situations and draw
justifiable conclusions, teachers will provide opportunities for mathematical discourse.
Classrooms will attend to the different strategies of students, who will discuss the most
efficient way to approach a problem. Students are then called to model with
mathematics. As a practice, students will apply what they know in mathematics to
everyday problems and real world applications. In the classroom, teachers should
explicitly move from life scenarios to mathematical representations as a means of
achieving this (Noyce Foundation). Students can begin modeling with mathematics very
early on and should continue to do so all throughout their education. In a first grade
classroom for example, learners may engage in composing and decomposing numbers
through a game called How many are hiding? When given 10 cubes, students present a
handful and are able to determine the leftovers. They practice their addition and
subtraction skills while they begin to develop habits for solving equations through a
mathematical model.
Following these practices, students are called to use appropriate tools
strategically. Students will become familiar with appropriate tools for their courses as
teachers demonstrate their uses. They will recognize insights and limitations when
deciding which tools to use when. The sixth standard emphasizes student needs to attend
to precision. Classrooms will focus on accuracy and clarity in the processes and
outcomes of problem solving (Noyce Foundation). This creates learners who

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communicate effectively using clear definitions and accurate calculations. Next, students
should be able to look for and make use of structure. In an effort to achieve this,
educators help students identify and evaluate efficient strategies for solution. This creates
the ability for students to closely discern patterns and structures. The final standard calls
for students to look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. This includes the
connections students make as well as the patterns they draw. Teachers will need to pay
close attention to student thinking, especially their ah-ha moments, in order to elaborate
their thinking and further their connections (Noyce Foundation).
These skills can be practiced simultaneously in a classroom. For example,
students working with input-output charts determine the best way to express a rule. They
come up with many different representations such as 3x-3, x3-3, and times three
minus three. They participate in precise communication when prompted to explain their
thinking that lead them to these representations. Additionally, the students assess the
relationship the numbers have between the columns in order to find a structure they wish
to represent. Even the last standard is met when they connect their ideas to the
expressions found in their textbook.
Classrooms designed with the CCSS for mathematical practice in mind should
give students meaningful opportunities to do mathematics. They will engage and attend to
the ideas of all students in order to build and refine student thinking. Students will be
given high quality content and opportunities to grapple with big ideas. They will be
supported in productive struggle and evolve as sense makers. Classrooms should see
math come alive (Schenfeld, par 15).

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If all of these things are achieved and addressed appropriately we need to alter our
tests to properly evaluate this new learning. We need to offer extended essay questions
where students can engage in complex mathematical situations. These new tests will be
harder to grade, and unfortunately more expensive. They will most likely be computerbased assessments requiring costly upgrades in hard and software as well as Internet
bandwidth (Hess and Mschane, 62-63). Additionally, the results of the new tests that we
do have so far were worse than expected. As the standards were raised from merely
proficient, to college and career ready, only a quarter of test takers were able to achieve
this high calling. With such a wide array of poor scoring, parents are undoubtedly
concerned. However, students and their families are still learning to adjust to this rigorous
sting of learning (Hess and Mschane, 64).Curriculum in line with these standards and
corresponding tests requires the development of new materials. Despite the vast amount
of books and materials that claim to be common core aligned, finding a legitimate
resource is an extensively time consuming task (Hess and Mcshane, 63).
The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics require a lot of changes in
teaching and learning that need time and money. However, the standards embody ideas
that have been developing in our nation for decades. The ideas are not new, but they have
been strengthened. The new methods of execution for these principles in the classroom
have been hard to navigate, but with time and dedication will prove to benefit our
students as critical thinkers quickly approaching careers in our nation.
Rhetorical Rationale.
I decided to write about common core because as surprising as this may be, it
really interested me. I am double majoring in math and secondary education and so I will

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most likely have to be working with these standards in the near future. Common core,
and the math standards especially, have caused a lot of discussion. As a future educator
these discussions have intrigued me, however I did not feel educated enough on the issue
to participate or form a real opinion. Therefore, I used this assignment as an opportunity
to read the standards and research about their implementation. It is usually difficult for
me to focus when reading a lot of formal writing and research about something.
However, this has never been the case in the many readings I have to do for my education
classes, so I knew I would be efficient in researching a topic like common core.
Turns out common core really is not as different or scary as it has been made out
to be. The standards were designed to make sure that United Sates was producing
students who were college and career ready. They placed a value on the process of
learning in an attempt to create environments that appreciate the journey of learning
rather than the destination of the answers. The Common Core State Standards for
mathematical practice require that critical thinking skills be achieved rather than just
procedural skills. The idea of common standards can be scary because it assumes that the
federal government has too much control in education. However this is not the case; each
individual state must adopt the standards, which do not even include a curriculum. Every
school is different and even every teacher has the opportunity to carry out the standards in
a different way. However common core provides a level playing field for learners of
participating states to achieve skills in preparation for the real world.
Through my essay I wanted to educate readers on what the standards even are and what
they really mean. First and foremost I provided a link to the standards themselves and a
video the core standards website made overviewing their purpose. I then was able to

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provide videos of the standards in action. I found a great website that expanded upon
each of the practice standards and gave examples of them in real classrooms. I chose a
few that encompassed them all and it was able to show how the math itself is really
coming alive in these classrooms. It was an effective way to not only inform readers that
the standards are giving learners opportunities to reason and grapple, but it was an
interactive way to show that it is working and happening right now in schools.
Additionally, I wanted to provide readers with a background on how these standards
came about and the justifications for their creation. My hyperlinks allowed me to provide
a description of the committees and acts that laid the foundation for the main ideas and
creation of the standards. Overall the videos and links integrated in my essay gave me a
place to provide support and examples so that I could focus my writing and express my
main ideas.

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Works Cited.
Core Standards. The Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2015. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
Common Core State Standards For Mathematical Practice. Inside Mathematics. Noyce
Founcation, 2014. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.
Duncan, Arne. Lessons from High-Performing Countries. National Center on
Education and the Economy National Symposium. 24 May 2011. Conference
Presentation. Web. 28 Nov. 2015
Gardner, Nancy, and Rod Powell. The Common Core is a change for the better. The Phi
Delta Kappan, Vol. 95, No. 4: 49-53. Journal Storage. Web. 2 Oct. 2015.
Hess, Frederick, and Michael McShane. Common Core in the real world. The Phi Delta
Kappan, Vol. 95, No. 3: 61-66. Journal Storage. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
Lockwood, Elise, and Eric Weber. "Ways Of Thinking And Mathematical Practices."
Mathematics Teacher 108.6 (2015): 461-465. Academic Search Complete.
Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
Maes, Bert. What makes education in Finland that good? 10 reform principles behind
the Success. The future of CNC manufacturing education. 24 Feb. 2010
Web. 28 Nov. 2015.
Schoenfeld, Alan. Common Sense About the Common Core. The Berkley Blog.
Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
Stephan, Michelle L. Establishing Standards for Mathematical Practice. Mathematics
Teaching in the Middle School 19.9 (2014): 532538. Journal Storage. Web. 30
Sept. 2015.

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Wallender, Jennifer. "The Common Core State Standards In American Public Education:
Historical Underpinnings And Justifications." Delta Kappa Gamma
Bulletin 80.4 (2014): 7-11. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Sept.
Wilhoit, Gene. Make-or-break state action. The Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 94, No. 2: 4749. Journal Storage. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
Williams, Cheryl. Just The Facts: Common Core State Standards. Educational
Horizons. Vol. 90 No. 4: 8-9. Journal Storage. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.