Survey: Teachers have Mixed Feelings on Common Core Math

A recent survey from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute shows teachers have varied feelings about Common Core math. According to Education Week, a whopping 85 percent of teachers surveyed agree that parents don’t understand the new way math is being taught, so the reinforcement of learning math in the home is declining.

In addition, findings from the survey include that just over half of teachers feel that the expectations in Common Core standards are not realistic. Teachers also say that 42 percent more students feel anxious about math now than under the past standards, and 42 percent say that the materials available don’t align with the Common Core standards.

There are some positive findings from the survey, too. One is that more than half of the teachers feel that the standards better prepare students for college and their careers. In addition, more than 75 percent of K-2 teachers report students are growing a strong number sense and the ability to apply what they have learned in real life situations. More than 50 percent of teachers in grades 3-8 agree.

Teachers are altering the way they teach math as a result of Common Core math, with the survey reporting that 40 percent of teachers have fewer students memorizing basic math formulas. The Education Week analysis tells us more than half of the teachers say they are teaching multiple methods of problem solving. The survey presented statements to teachers to find out if they agreed and then encouraged teachers to answer according to their instructions if they did something more, about the same, or less than the statement.

A major criticism about Common Core mathematics is that the method used for problem solving is vastly different from the way past generations learned math, so the parents are unfamiliar with how the students are being taught, and are therefore less likely to be able to support the students in the home. A suggestion is for school districts to host math curriculum classes in the evenings to enlighten parents so they understand the new math methods, or to send home additional explanatory materials.

Students really need their parents’ support and guidance when it comes to schoolwork. It’s proven that students who have the support at home are far more successful in school than their counterparts who lack that support. The idea of hosting more math curriculum nights to make sure parents understand the new form of instruction would really benefit everyone and hopefully get teachers, students and parents on board with the new ways to learn math concepts.

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