Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) set forth rigorous standards for teaching and assessing competencies. According to NCTM’s 2016 president Matt Larson, “The Common Core State Standards offers a foundation for a more focused and coherent mathematics curriculum that promotes conceptual understanding, problem solving, and procedural fluency” (1). It consists of the Content Standards that delineate which content areas are to be taught and when and the Standards for Mathematical Practices (SMP) that describe ways teachers should engage students so that, as students solve problems in grades K-12, they are encouraged to behave as mathematicians as they gather resources to help guide and monitor their decisions on which solution paths to consider and follow for resolving problems.

CCSSM Content Standards

Three major shifts from traditional teaching to the CCSSM are:

  • • a greater focus to help students learn the important mathematics and engage in discussions that reflect the mathematical practices;
  • coherence to make connections within and across grade levels so that math is viewed as a discipline where connections at one level provide deeper understanding for another;
  • rigor in major topics to provide for a balance between conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and application.
  • (

The K-8 standards are organized within six domains that define what students should know and be able to do at each grade level: ratios and proportional relationships, the number system, expressions and equations, functions, geometry, and statistics and probability. As Figure 2.1 shows, the standards overlap within and across grade levels because of the connections existing within mathematics itself. In high school, the domains algebra functions, geometry, and statistics overlap through an emphasis on modeling taught by means of the Standards for Mathematical Practice.

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