The Common Core math standards are a great example of what happens when you apply common sense to a complex subject, and that common sense turns out to be far more effective than the usual “make it as easy as possible” approach.
In a piece for The Atlantic, Michael T. Sommers, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and a founding member of the Common Core Collaboration, lays out some of the many ways that Common Core’s mathematics standards have turned out to actually be better for students than the standard tests themselves.
Soms points out that, for example, while a standardized test like the SAT or ACT might give a clear picture of a student’s general aptitude for math, students with no prior experience can actually get a clearer picture of their aptitude by looking at the SAT and ACT.
The same is true of the SAT’s “test of memorization” that students have to pass to take the test, where students will get the chance to look at questions and answer them in a way that helps them better prepare for the exam.
If that sounds like a lot of math, that’s because it is.
In Sommer’s piece, he notes that while some people might think that a standardized math test is just a measure of how well you can do something, the reality is that it is a test of memorizing math facts and doing the work.
It is a measure to assess the student’s knowledge of the subject, which means it is not really a test to assess a student or a teacher’s ability to teach math.
And as he explains, this is what makes the Common Code so important: The Common Code of Math is an accurate and robust measure of the ability of students to apply basic skills to the challenges of college mathematics.
But Common Core has also taken a number of steps that have given the CommonCore Math Standards a much higher level of precision than any previous standardized test of math.
To begin with, the CommonCode has been updated to include new questions, new explanations, and more advanced vocabulary, with more questions being added on the fly as the test matures.
Somes also points out how the Common Standards are much more rigorous than other math tests, with math questions being assessed by a panel of three or more math experts, with the answers being scored by a teacher.
The CommonCode also includes more detailed explanations and questions for each problem than any other standardized test, with some questions requiring a student to explain their problem and provide a specific solution.
The standards also allow students to practice using different problem sets, including two sets of problem sets.
Sones points out the impact that this has on the quality of the tests: Common Core is a lot more difficult to pass than any of the standardized tests that have been tested, and it is far harder to pass the Common Codes, which are the most rigorous.
SOMERS: This is a great model for the Common Alliance for Education, a consortium of states and school districts that are pushing for standards like the Common Standard.
But Sommes also makes an important point about the Common Common Core standards being so far ahead of their time.
There are a number, he says, of other problems that the Common standards have already addressed, such as: the difficulty of applying the Common Language Skills standards, for which the CommonCommonCore.org site has the solution for nearly all questions, even for the most advanced math problems.
In fact, the answer is almost identical to the answer to the last Common Standard, and the CommonLandsolutions.com website has a solution for almost all questions.
So the Common Cores are far ahead, Sommings says.
SANDERS: They’re doing a great job of making sure that we’re doing the math as well as the language skills.
That is, it’s about the same effort that the standardized test is, so we’re trying to get as much as possible out of the test as possible, even if we’re having to do some extra math work to make sure that the student can understand it.
That means making sure we’re providing enough questions, and using the correct answer and answer options for the problems.
This is something that the standards have been successful at doing in many ways, but it is the first time that they have addressed the problem of knowing when the Common code is correct.
That’s why, as Sommerts puts it, “this new standard has the potential to transform the Common-Core curriculum.”
Common Core: How Common Core Is Changing Math to Make It More Math-Friendly by Michael Somms on Scribd