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1 Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics: A Quest for Coherence

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2 Why Identify Focal Points? Address long lists of state learning expectations Address “mile wide, inch deep” math curriculum Identify the mathematics that should be the focus of instruction and student learning, preK-8 Begin the discussion of appropriate curricular expectations Identify key mathematical ideas all others build on

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3 Number of 4 th -Grade Learning Expectations per State by Content Strand Number & Operation GeometryMeasurementAlgebra Data Analysis, Probability & Statistics Total Number of Learning Expectations California Texas New York Florida Ohio Michigan New Jersey North Carolina Georgia Virginia Reys, et al., 2006

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4 What Are Curriculum Focal Points? The most important mathematical topics for each grade level, preK-8 Cohesive clusters of related ideas, concepts, skills, and procedures that form the foundation for higher-level mathematics

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5 What Are Curriculum Focal Points? More than a single objective, standard, expectation, or indicator Not discrete topics for teachers to present and check off as mastered by students

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7 How to Use Curriculum Focal Points Framework for development of mathematics curriculum Grade-level targets for curriculum developers An example for next generation of curricula and related assessments

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8 Development and Process Writing group –Mathematicians –Math educators –Teachers Outside reviewers –Mathematicians and math educators –Teachers and supervisors –Policymakers

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9 Curriculum Focal Points and Teachers Answer “What are the most important topics?” Organize critical mathematics topics from grade to grade Prioritize existing lists of curriculum objectives, expectations, and published materials

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10 Relation to Principles and Standards for School Mathematics Curriculum Focal Points Are an extension of Principles and Standards Are the next step in implementing the vision of Standards Target mathematics content Relate to more than one content strand

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11 Recommendations: Collaborate to Promote Consensus Use Focal Points to frame and stimulate discussion on next generation of curriculum standards, textbooks, and related assessments. States and districts should work together to approach consensus about important curriculum goals at each grade.

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12 Precursors Basic Mathematical Skills (NCSM, 1977) An Agenda for Action (NCTM, 1980) Curriculum and Evaluation Standards (NCTM, 1989) Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM, 2000)

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14 nctm.org/focalpoints Full document available online free download for purchase Q & A’s Overview and more!

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