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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

practices.

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.

2015.

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

answer.

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.

[4128].

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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.

Gregory 16

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.

2015.

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.