Pretending to be objective, Dept.


From the Common Core math standards website, in a discussion on the Standards for Mathematical Practice:

From SMP 1: (Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them), it states” “Mathematically proficient students check their answers to problems using a different method, and they continually ask themselves, ‘Does this make sense?’ “

Yes, it would be nice if students asked themselves if the answer makes sense. But checking answers to problems using a different method? Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. This appears to be an opinion, that has been interpreted as a way to teach math, and many teachers now require students to do just that, or find multiple ways of solving problems.

At the same time, in another part of the Common Core math standards website, it states: “These Standards do not dictate curriculum or teaching methods.”

So what’s it gonna be?

I ask this because Fordham just came out with the results of a national survey on Common Core math standards, and on p. 10, one of the statements is “Overall, data show that teachers are changing their instructional practices in three key ways. … More teachers are teaching students multiple methods to solve problems. Consistent with the Common Core expectation that students be able to “access concepts from a number of perspectives,” 65 percent of both K–2 and 3–5 teachers and 41 percent of 6–8 teachers report that they are “teaching multiple methods to solve a problem” more often than they did before the CCSS-M were implemented; just 2–5 percent at all grade bands report doing this less frequently. ”

For something that doesn’t dictate teaching methods, it seems to me that it is being interpreted in ways that dictate teaching methods. And of course Fordham doesn’t question any of it. They just ask their questions and amass their data.


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