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Common Core Standards Reviewed

13 May 2010 No Comment
Rebecca Nichols, ASA K–16 Education Manager

The ASA participated in three reviews of draft mathematics standards prepared through the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a state-led initiative. The initiative was coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to create a common core of rigorous state K–12 standards in mathematics and English-language arts. If adopted by the states, these standards could impact millions of school children in the United States. (At least 48 states, the District of Columbia, and two territories have expressed interest.)

The ASA created a review group consisting of members who are prominent statisticians, statistics educators, authors of the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) Report: A Pre-K–12 Curriculum Framework, and members of the ASA/NCTM Joint Committee on Curriculum in Statistics and Probability. The following ASA members participated in at least one of the three review groups: Martha Aliaga, Christine Franklin, Katherine Halvorsen, Patrick Hopfensperger, Tim Jacobbe, Gary Kader, Cliff Konold, Henry Kranendonk, Jim Landwehr, Jerry Moreno, Rebecca Nichols, Chris Olsen, Daren Starnes, and Mary Sullivan. Moreno, of John Carroll University, led the efforts.

The group reviewed first the public draft of the statistics, probability, and modeling strands of the College and Career Readiness Standards for Mathematics last October and submitted reviews and a letter directly to the CCSSO. The Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) coordinated a review in which various organizations (including the ASA) were asked to respond in a lengthy review of the January draft of the Common Core K–12 Mathematics Standards in the measurement and data strands for grades K–5 and the statistics and probability strands for grades 6–12. Lastly, the ASA team submitted several pages of comments, revisions, and recommendations regarding the March public draft of the K–12 standards. ASA President Sastry Pantula signed letters accompanying the team reviews and suggested revisions of the K–12 standards.

The review team’s reaction of the College and Career Readiness Standards for Mathematics was positive. The statistics, probability, and modeling components in the college and career readiness document emphasize the importance of data; variation in data; and the role of randomness in data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The group submitted suggested revisions to correct and improve the document.

However, the group noticed a disconnect between the College and Career Readiness Standards and both reviewed drafts of the Common Core K–12 Mathematics Standards with respect to statistics and probability. Instead of the K–12 standards document clarifying and providing a pathway to the statistics standards in the college and career readiness document, much of the statistics content that should be in elementary school and middle school has been pushed to high school.

To become statistically literate high school graduates, primary-aged children should begin the statistical problemsolving process of formulating questions and collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data—described in the GAISE pre-K–12 report here—in elementary school and then progress to high school and beyond. GAISE served as a model for Georgia, Colorado, Ohio, and Wisconsin in revising their data analysis standards in the mathematics curriculum from elementary to high school.

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