Common Core Math In The K-8 Classroom: Results from a National Teacher Survey
Based on a survey of elementary and middle school teachers, the authors of this report investigate whether teachers have changed what and how they teach mathematics as represented in the Common Core State Standards. The authors also analyze whether teachers believe that students’ mathematics understanding and skills have improved as a result. The study has three research questions.
— “To what extent does mathematics instruction actually reflect the CCSS-M?
— In which ways are teachers changing their instructional practices to implement the CCSS-M?
— What impact do teachers think the CCSS-M are having on students’ mathematical preparation?”
The authors found that most elementary and middle school teachers who completed the survey said that they have changed their instruction to reflect the CCSS-M. For example, teachers often reported that they are teaching students multiple ways of solving the same problem. However, some of these changes have led to high levels of frustration for both students and parents. Teachers generally think that students are better developing “number sense” but at the possible unintended reduction in their ability to perform simple calculations.
The purposes and methodology used in this report are reasonably solid, although surveys are not generally as accurate as on-site observations or the use of multiple methods. The research questions are good ones.
Because the authors are part of an organization that strongly supports the Common Core State Standards, there is potential bias. This concern is reduced because the authors report implementation challenges as well as successes.
Communications quality is excellent, especially through the use of a Foreword, Executive Summary, Full Report, and Appendices that include the actual survey. Utility should be reasonably high based on the study’s uniqueness and its overall quality. Evidence of effectiveness is not addressed, but the study could be useful to other researchers conducting similar studies. A next step would be collection of achievement data. The study could be enhanced through teacher, parent, and student interviews that would provide possible causes for some of the study’s findings.