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Does Common Core really make math harder?

TUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2015 15:22 PM

Education has been putting a lot of stress on learning STEM subjects, particularly in math. According to the Center for American Progress, knowledge of mathematics is thought of as important or even extremely important in 70 percent of jobs. Part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative is to make sure kids are college and career ready. If a majority of jobs stress the value of math, then students should be learning those skills.

In some cases, parents and others argue that Common Core has made subjects like algebra tougher. The new Standards now teach eighth grade students about algebra concepts like congruence and similarity, Education Week noted. Previously, these problems were not taught to students until high school. The reason middle schoolers are being taught these concepts at a younger age is so they'll have a strong mathematical foundation when they reach Algebra-1 in ninth grade. This will ensure they're able to get involved with more complicated coursework right away. 

Some people are worried students will struggle to learn these new concepts, but under the Common Core, math skills are built upon from a young age. By the time kids start learning algebra concepts in the ?eighth grade they have been well-prepared to handle the new formulas and equations required.

How Common Core math works
Math skills have always been taught from an early age, but unlike previous state standards, the Common Core goes much more in depth with mathematical subjects. This is particularly beneficial because it emphasizes deep learning and reasoning, rather than simple memorization. With Common Core, the knowledge kids learn from one course carries over into the next. Students no longer have to relearn certain procedures because they will continue using them as they move through higher grade levels.

Another requirement of the CCSS is a thorough understanding of how math concepts work. Before, students were often taught fun tricks for remembering and solving formulas and equations. The problem with this method of teaching is that kids understand how to complete a problem but they don't understand the formula itself or what it means. When this happens, students can struggle when faced with an unconventional math problem, PBS Parents noted. Having a deeper understanding of these concepts will make a child more likely to succeed when faced with these irregular problems and will also make it easier to remember how functions are performed.