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Analysis of State-Level Mathematics Curriculum Standards Barbara J. Reys University of Missouri Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum What mathematics should students learn and when should they learn it? No Child Left Behind Each state is required to:
Barbara J. Reys
University of Missouri
Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum
Each state is required to:
2006 4 states (ID, MS, NH, NV)
2005 9 states
2004 13 states
2003 8 states (UT)
2002 4 states
2001 4 states
2000 2 states
pre-2000 7 states
“The Core Curriculum represents those standards of learning that are essential for all students. They are the ideas, concepts, and skills that provide a foundation on which subsequent learning may be built . . . Although the Core Curriculum standards are intended to occupy a major part of the school program, they are not the total curriculum of a level or course.”
For many states, the most recent standards documents represent increased specificity of learning goals compared to previous state standards documents.
The learning goals carry additional “weight” since they are tied to annual assessments in grades 3-8.
Teachers and state department leaders acknowledge the increased influence of state standards in determining curriculum focus at the classroom level.
*Does not include the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) in grades 3-6.
Mean number of LEs per grade level for the 42 state GLE documents: 47 LEs
To what extent are the elementary and middle school (K-8) grade-level learning expectations described in state-level mathematics curriculum standards similar in terms of content and grade placement?
Number Algebra Reasoning
*For this summary, we used the culminating learning expectation that indicated students were working with common and uncommon denominators when adding and subtracting fractions.
- For teacher preparation and professional development?- For development of textbooks?- For comparisons of student performance?
“The Panel shall advise the President and the Secretary of Education …with respect to the conduct, evaluation, and effective use of the results of research relating to proven-effective and evidence-based mathematics instruction . . . Make recommendations, based on the best available scientific evidence, on the following:
At each grade, we recommend a general statement of major goals for the grade. These general goals may specify emphasis on a few strands of mathematics or a few topics within strands. These general goals should be coordinated across all grades, K-8, to ensure curricular coherence and comprehensiveness.
The set of learning expectations per grade-level should be manageable given the school year. Along with the statement of general goals and priorities for a particular grade, we suggest that the set of learning expectations per grade be limited to 20-25.
We recommend that mathematics curriculum standards be organized by grade and by content strand. Further, we recommend that they give attention to both content strands and important mathematical processes.
We recommend that learning expectations be expressed succinctly, coherently, and with optimum brevity, limiting the use of educational terms (jargon) that may not communicate clearly to the intended audience of teachers, school leaders, and parents.
We recommend limited use of examples within statements of grade-level learning expectations. Instead, we urge authors to strive for clarity within the statement of the learning expectation.
These groups include: classroom teachers, mathematics educators, mathematicians, curriculum supervisors, and researchers in the fields of mathematics education and cognitive psychology. We recommend that all voices be heard and taken into account in the development of appropriate and rigorous mathematics curriculum standards.
Fifty states with 50 state standards documents increases the likelihood of large textbooks that treat many topics superficially. In order to increase the likelihood of focused curriculum materials, states will need to work together to create some level of consensus about important learning goals and expectations at each grade.