The Intersection

Common Core Math Is Just Good Math

September 17, 2014

Boston College Mathematics Department Chair Solomon Friedberg is totally against fuzzy math. In the USA Today article, Common Core Math is Not Fuzzy, Dr. Friedberg provides a straightforward explanation about how the Common Core State Standards provide the foundations for students to get a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts and sets higher expectations for teachers and what students learn.

Dr. Friedberg, also editor of the book series Issues in Mathematics Education, describes what math was like before the Common Core as a “plug-and-chug” approach to memorizing a lot of rules that really made no sense at all. He explains, “Math is based on a collection of ideas that do make sense. The rules come from the ideas. Common Core asks students to learn math this way, with both computational fluency and understanding of the ideas.

Learning math this way leads to deeper understanding, obviates the need for endless rule-memorizing and provides the intellectual flexibility to apply math in new situations, ones for which the rules need to be adapted. (It’s also a lot more fun.) Combining computational fluency with understanding makes for problem solvers who can genuinely use their math. This is what businesses want and what is necessary to use math in a quantitative discipline.

Here is what good math learning produces: Students who can compute correctly and wisely, choosing the best way to do a given computation; students who can explain what they are doing when they solve a problem or use math to analyze a situation; and students who have the flexibility and understanding to find the best approach to a new problem.

Common Core promotes this. It systematically and coherently specifies the topics and connections needed for math to make sense, and promotes both understanding and accuracy.”

Read the full article here.

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