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How Common Core Can Strengthen Mathematics Education

Technology and science have been two major elements of STEM learning that seem to get the most attention. However, a new report says math matters and Common Core will be the gateway to improving students' mathematical education.

“Today, 20 percent of all jobs across the country require a high level of knowledge in a STEM field,” says Max Marchitello and Catherine Brown of the Center for American Progress. 

“Experts predict that these fields will be among the country’s highest-growth industries in the years to come.”

Despite these statistics, Marchitello and Brown said that the U.S. is below the curve when it comes to math, which is a vital aspect of the majority of jobs in the STEM field.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. public K-12 education system is not preparing all students to seize opportunities for challenging, well-paying jobs,” according to the report.

“In fact, out of 24 countries, American adults scored higher than only two, and nearly one-third of adults demonstrated below basic mathematics skills. The opposite is true in other countries. Approximately 20 percent of adults scored at PIACC’s highest levels in Japan and Finland, compared with less than 9 percent in the United States.”

So, how is Common Core going to change the way students retain the math skills that are necessary to achieve in college and beyond?

Well, Marchitello and Brown claimed that the Common Core State Standards were developed with low performance in math in mind. The style of the lessons are what the authors believe will change the game for the U.S.

“Through the Common Core, students are taught to understand both the procedures for doing math problems—such as memorizing multiplication tables or learning to ‘carry the 1’—and how and why these procedures work,” according to Marchitello and Brown.

“This approach allows students to more deeply understand the concepts that underlie mathematics, improve their critical thinking skills, approach problems from different perspectives, and apply what they learn to real-world problems. In other words, students will study why 5 x 10 = 50 in addition to memorizing multiplication tables.”

Marchitello and Brown firmly believe in the development of the Common Core approach to teaching math and it’s ability to be effective when it comes to propelling the U.S. to the top of the world when it comes to math.

Read the full story.

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