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How the Common Core Will Change High School Math Classes

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Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

Much of the debate about the Common Core, a new set of expectations for what students should know and be able to do in math and English at each grade level, has centered on the changes it will bring to English classes.

But the Common Core will change math classes too.

Trent Bowers, an assistant superintendent in the Worthington school district in central Ohio, explains:

The CCSS will change many areas of instruction but none will be more recognizable than our high school math courses. No longer will Worthington students’ progress through the traditional pathway of Algebra, Geometry and Algebra 2. Instead the material will be presented to students in an Integrated way with courses titled CCSS Integrated Math 1, 2 and 3.

Independent of the names of the courses students take, the CCSS requires all high school students to develop integrated understandings of algebra, geometry, and data analysis, where concepts, skills, and representations in each content strand support concepts, skills, problem solving, and reasoning in the other strands.

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So Worthington is moving towards replacing courses named Algebra, Geometry and Algebra 2 with courses called Integrated Math 1, 2 and 3, Bowers writes.

The titles might be confusing to adults who have grown up with the "regular" names.

But the idea behind the Common Core high school math shift is to give students better answers to the time-honored math-class question "When am I ever going to use this?"

From the Common Core:

Modeling links classroom mathematics and statistics to everyday life, work, and decision-making. It is the process of choosing and using appropriate mathematics and statistics to analyze empirical situations, to understand them better, and to improve decisions.

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