Common Core Math Writer: “Too Busy with K-8” to Adequately Develop High School Math Standards
On July 06, 2015, Andrew Ujifusa of EdWeek posted a piece entitled, “Are Test Scores Proving Fears About Common-Core High School Math Correct?”
In his post, Ujifusa writes about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) high school math scores from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington State. He notes that the results for high school math were below predictions– which were already lower than predictions for other SBAC tests– “suggesting that officials knew that high school math could prove particularly difficult for students.”
Now, here is the clincher: Ujifusa refers to another EdWeek piece written in February by Liana Heitin, entitled, “Common Core Seen Falling Short in High School Math.”
In Heitin’s February post, Common Core math work group member, University of California at Berkeley professor emeritus Hung-Hsi Wu– described by Heitin as “an adamant supporter of the standards”– told Heitin, “The amount of time given to the high school standards was definitely inadequate. We were so busy with K-8.”
Got that, America? This is one of the individuals on the inside of writing Common Core math standards, and in 2015, in the face of questionable SBAC high school math outcomes, he publicly admits that Common Core high school math was rushed.
Anyone familiar with Common Core development knows that the anchor standards that were supposed to precede the full CC math– and provide the framework for full CC math– do not exist.
The math anchors were supposed to exist, but the development hit a snag, and the clock was ticking. The CCSS memorandum of understanding (MOU) set the timeline for standards completion to be December 2009, but the National Governors Association (NGA) announcement for the beginning of the development of the CCSS– which was supposed to follow the development of the full CC math standards– came out in November 2009.
The CCSS owners, NGA and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), had a schedule to keep. No time to take time to address CC math anchor issues. Just move on to full-blown CC math.
I detail the info above in my book, Common Core Dilemma–Who Owns Our Schools?.
As the years pass and CC faces greater scrutiny, the fact that there are no CC math anchors becomes a problem for CC peddlers. Thus, there is a need to cover up– to make what is missing appear intended.
Consider the following:
This is the archived CC math web page from September 18, 2012. There is no mention of the CC math anchors. Consider this excerpted paragraph:
In addition, the “sequence of topics and performances” that is outlined in a body of mathematics standards must also respect what is known about how students learn. As Confrey (2007) points out, developing “sequenced obstacles and challenges for students…absent the insights about meaning that derive from careful study of learning, would be unfortunate and unwise.” In recognition of this, the development of these Standards began with research-based learning progressions detailing what is known today about how students’ mathematical knowledge, skill, and understanding develop over time.
No mention of the missing CC math anchors despite the fact that CC ELA anchors exist.
Now, consider almost the same paragraph from March 13, 2014:
In addition, the “sequence of topics and performances” that is outlined in a body of math standards must respect what is already known about how students learn. As Confrey (2007) points out, developing “sequenced obstacles and challenges for students…absent the insights about meaning that derive from careful study of learning, would be unfortunate and unwise.” Therefore, the development of the standards began with research-based learning progressions detailing what is known today about how students’ mathematical knowledge, skill, and understanding develop over time. The knowledge and skills students need to be prepared for mathematics in college, career, and life are woven throughout the mathematics standards. They do not include separate Anchor Standards like those used in the ELA/literacy standards. [Emphasis added.]
Missing CC math anchors taken care of. Just tell the public that math anchors aren’t needed. However, the two bolded sentences do not make sense as an excuse for missing CC math anchors. What they imply is that the knowledge and skills students need to be prepared for ELA in college, career, and life are not woven into the CC ELA standards, so that is why CC ELA has anchor standards.
Those two bolded statements represent nothing more than an after-the-fact, publicity-patchwork scheme– but perhaps not enough of a scheme to overcome the bad publicity of a CC math developer admitting that CC high school math was a rush job.
Interestingly, this statement from the September 18, 2012, archived CC math web page has also been deleted from the current page:
No set of grade-specific standards can fully reflect the great variety in abilities, needs, learning rates, and achievement levels of students in any given classroom. However, the Standards do provide clear signposts along the way to the goal of college and career readiness for all students.
No standards can do it all, but these standards can.
Quite the crumbling promise.