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Math Instructor Defends Common Core Math Standards

Math Instructor Defends Common Core Math Standards

According to college-level math instructor Kevin Knudson, Common Core math standards aren't to blame for the snow-ball effect of uproar and protest to the conceptual change the standards have made to the country's math curriculum.

Though politicians via political platforms and parents via social media have frequently lamented the changes to "old-fashioned" math via the standards, Knudson argues that to kill the standards before figuring out the best way to implement them would be a shame.

Knudson is a proponent of the conceptual nature behind the Common Core standards:

"...to be fair, since the K-12 math curriculum is chopped up into discrete chunks of individual topics for ease of standardized testing assessment, it's often difficult for students to develop the problem-solving abilities they need for success in higher-level math, science and engineering work. Emphasizing more conceptual understanding at an early age will hopefully lead to better problem-solving skills later. At least that's the rationale behind the standards," he said, in his post on Phys.org.

Certainly, he has first-hand experience in recognizing the need for students to learn better problem- solving skills. In his experience as a professor, he notices the inability of his math students to readily conceptualize math.

"College students can compute answers to homework problems to 10 decimal places, but ask them to ballpark something without a calculator and I get blank stares. Ditto for conceptual understanding – for instance, students can evaluate integrals with relative ease, but building one as a limit of Riemann sums to solve an actual problem is often beyond their reach."

Upon further analysis of specific standards included in the Common Core, Knudson champions them for giving teachers various methods to complete the mathematical tasks at hand.

"There is nothing controversial about these topics, and indeed it's not controversial that they're things that students should be able to do at that age."

"The standards themselves are fine, and before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, perhaps we should consider efforts to implement them properly. To give the Common Core a fair shot, we need appropriate professional development for teachers and a more phased introduction of new standardized testing attached to the standards," he said.

Read his full post here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

09/09/2015

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