From an article about “how math might have changed since you were in school.”
“With Common Core, students are learning more complicated and in-depth methods of doing math that focus, in part, on a simple idea: Teach students to think critically and to do so at an earlier age compared with previous standards so they can pursue career training or college, Mooney said.”
And how’s that been working out for the nation?
“Mooney said an obstacle in implementing the standards comes from figuring out how to overcome conventional wisdom about how people learn and talk and think about math.”
Right. Because in past eras which progressives deem to have “failed thousands of students” math textbooks taught standard algorithms first, and gave many practice problems (including word problems). After mastery of the standard methods, students were then shown alternative strategies–but they had as an anchor the standard algorithms from which they could then venture out. In that way, the alternative strategies helped spotlight why the algorithms worked as they did.
The strategies taught in those bygone days were the same ones that are now taught first under the Common Core standards to ensure understanding. Now, students don’t get to learn the standard algorithms until they master the strategies that are thought to provide the conceptual understanding. And for the most part, in those days that supposedly failed all those students, there were explanations as to why the standard algorithms worked. That is, the conceptual understanding accompanied the explanation of how to use the standard algorithms. (See this article for further rants and perambulations on this topic).