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Mailbag: Your Thoughts On Indiana's Changing Math Standards

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

The Common Core standards may mean a shift in math instruction in the early grades.

Our story on how the Common Core is changing math instruction in Indiana has been generating a great conversation in the comments section. We like to highlight interesting discussion in our occasional series, Mailbag.

So if you have something to add about the Common Core math standards, we want you to weigh in. If you’re a teacher, tell us how the adjustment to the new standards is going. If you’re a parent, tell us if you’ve noticed a change in the math instruction. If you’re a math scholar, tell us what you like or don’t like about the Common Core.

We’re always working on new stories about the changing standards and hope you’ll chime in with any Core Questions you have.

From bsrk7:

I’m not so sure about the new standards either (that anecdote about the kids being marked down for not drawing the pants is ridiculous), but honestly I think the kids will be alright.

I was never taught the “regrouping” method of addition and subtraction in school, but over time I developed it on my own and it’s how I always do mental math now. That tells me that these new concepts are onto something.

From whild:

I’m a high school math teacher who definitely feels like this is just one more iteration of education PhD’s who want to throw out methods that have worked for hundreds of years in favor of the newest ‘fad’. I’m a common core skeptic who wants to see the evidence – but I am open to learning some good new ways to teach math… this sounds like a productive discussion of what really works. I’m willing to wait & see what ‘new’ ideas are out there.

From Annmarie Thomas:

I too am a math teacher and parent and I couldn’t be more excited about the Common Core, if and only if it is actually implemented correctly. My fear is that you, and apparently a multitude of your colleagues, have not received the professional development or planning time to properly implement Common Core. It is a shift, yes, but hardly a complete abandonment of basic mathematical concepts, such as, prime factorization, which is addressed in standard 6.NS.4.

From Cathy Villaneuva:

Our school switched this year from Everyday Math to Envision, which is also based on the Common Core standards but is intelligently structured, and we teachers are heaving a sigh of relief at the sensible, down-to-earth approach that kids can actually understand and thrive on. And, yes, they do learn concepts with a hands-on approach that is soon followed by a solid grounding in the standard algorithm.

From Mary-Adele Allison:

Children should have learned to draw math problems long before the Common Core came around. It has been proven that the use of manipulatives increases a child’s understanding of math concepts as they become more complex and abstract in later years. … IN TRUTH, the Common Core is expecting children to become proficient in math concepts at a younger age than before the new Common Core. AT THE SAME TIME, I think that homework should be easy for parents to understand or the school should have math nights & other resources to help parents understand the methodology.

From Robin Paulin:

Common Core is not the issue. It’s the dog chasing its tail. Curriculum and assessment are more of the issue. If the goal is for the student to have a deep understanding of the place value to add, subtract, multiply, and divide proficiently than the assessment should not be on the method/algorithm they used to solve the problem it should be on whether or not they understand how to correctly solve the problem…as long as they can show their work and it is a method that will consistently provide correct results regardless of the problem.


  • Dave Campbell

    Congratulations to Robin Paulin who has successfully seen through a dense fog and identified the goal that is important: “Did they get it right?’. I’ll go a step further and state that I do not agree with giving points for using the right method to get the wrong answer. End results, matter. Checking your work , matters. Practicing until you are proficient, matters.

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