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Common Core State Standards: Math Instructional Shifts

The fate of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics will depend on how we teach more so than what we teach. It's great, for example, that teachers will now have time to explore topics in greater depth. But unless they're prepared to go deeper with those topics, the extra time will be spent reinforcing algorithms and formulas rather than deriving them.

School leaders and math teachers must therefore understand the instructional implications of CCSS in addition to the content implications. This is why I begin Math CCSS training with a discussion of six shifts in instruction associated with CCSS:

  1. Focus: fewer topics covered in greater depth
  2. Coherence: connect learning within and across grades
  3. Fluency: perform mathematics with speed and accuracy
  4. Understanding: use mathematics in complex situations
  5. Application: know when and how applying math can solve a problem
  6. Dual Intensity: achieve fluency and conceptual understanding/application

I've addressed--directly and indirectly--these shifts in prior posts, and plan to address them further in future posts. In the meantime, check out this video in which CCSS co-author David Coleman explains the six shifts in more detail:

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