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 New Math Standards Will Bring More Focus, Coherence and Rigor

​As teachers adapt to the Common Core State Standards over the next few years, mathematics classes throughout the county and state will include more focus on key abilities, coherence between grade levels and rigor.

Students will learn more about fewer key topics, which will help them more deeply understand the content and more efficiently solve real-world problems. The new standards lay a solid foundation in whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and decimals. Taken together, these elements support a student’s ability to learn and apply more demanding math concepts and procedures.

“We want to move kids from understanding to using to applying mathematics,” said Jameson Rienick, mathematics coordinator with the San Diego County Office of Education. “There are going to be more real-life connections.

Though the new standards aren’t drastically different from the previous set of state standards, they will require more problem solving, collaborative learning and a higher level of mastery in key concepts. They will encourage multiple perspectives and different ways to solve the same math problem.

There also will be new online assessments starting in the spring of 2015 that will ask students to explain their thinking and apply their knowledge more than previous multiple-answer tests could.  They will give parents and students more accurate information about whether students are on track to graduate high school ready for college and the workplace.

“Testing is going to be way different,” Rienick said. “Smarter Balanced assessments will go beyond multiple-choice questions and include short constructed responses, extended constructed responses and performance tasks that allow students to complete an in-depth project that demonstrates analytical skills and real-world problem solving.”

The Common Core State Standards don’t tell educators how to teach. Instead, they set clear guidelines for what students are expected to know in each grade level by the end of each school year.

The standards are designed to ensure that students graduate from high school prepared for college or the workforce.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that 45 states, including California, have voluntarily adopted.

“All students deserve an education that prepares them for their next step in life—whether that’s going on to postsecondary education or starting a career,” Rienick said.

To learn more about the Common Core State Standards visit the San Diego Common Core Connection.