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Common Core Initiative FAQ Who is leading the Common Core State Standards Initiative? The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center); As part of this process, they have convened a National Policy Forum composed of signatory national organizations to share ideas How will states adopt the common core state standards? States will adopt the common core state standards through a process that respects unique state contexts. CCSSO and the NGA Center will ask states to share their adoption timeline and process in early 2010, when the K-12 common core state standards are completed. A validation committee will verify that states have accurately adopted the common core state standards Are these national standards? No. This initiative is driven by collective state action and states will voluntarily adopt the standards based on the timelines and context in their state. What grades will be covered in the common core state standards? The English-language arts and math standards will be K-12 standards.

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Assessment Will common assessments be developed? Will one national test be created that looks like the current tests we have today? States know that standards alone cannot propel the systems change we need. Assessments aligned with the common core state standards will play an important role in making sure the standards are embedded in our education system. Some states will voluntarily come together to develop new innovative, common assessments as part of the Race to the Top program. However, states do not want to see one national assessment given once a year that relies on multiple-choice items. A common assessment system will include multiple forms of assessment so that what a student knows and can do, not the form of the assessment, determines performance. An assessment system must provide assessment for learning as well as assessment of learning.

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Timeline What is the timeline for the common core state standards initiative? Key dates in the project are identified below. 1. November 2009 – College- and career-readiness standards validated. 2. Winter 2009/2010 – K-12 common core state standards in English-language arts and mathematics completed and publicly released. 3. Early 2010, states submit timeline and process for adoption of common core state standards in English-language arts and mathematics.

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The Flowchart

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Some Controversy (Part 1) Mathematical Practice (Standard 1) Proficient students expect mathematics to make sense. They take an active stance in solving mathematical problems. When faced with a non- routine problem, they have the courage to plunge in and try something, and they have the procedural and conceptual tools to carry through. They are experimenters and inventors, and can adapt known strategies to new problems. They think strategically.

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Mathematical Practice #6 Make strategic decisions about the use of technological tools. Mathematically proficient students consider the available tools when solving a mathematical problem, whether pencil and paper, ruler, protractor, graphing calculator, spreadsheet, computer algebra system, statistical package, or dynamic geometry software. They are familiar enough with all of these tools to make sound decisions about when each might be helpful. They use mathematical understanding and estimation strategically, attending to levels of precision, to ensure appropriate levels of approximation and to detect possible errors. They are able to use these tools to explore and deepen their understanding of concepts.

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Math Modeling (Standard 7) Modeling Core Concepts Mathematical models involve choices and assumptions that abstract key features from situations to help us solve problems. Even very simple models can be useful. Core Skills Model numerical situations. Model physical objects with geometric shapes. Model situations with equations and inequalities. Model situations with common functions. Model situations using probability andstatistics. Interpret the results of applying a model and compare models for a particular situation.

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ISN’T THIS FUZZY MATH?? The Modeling standard needs discussion in relation to the other standards. For example, what is the difference between a geometry task versus a modeling task that uses geometry? What is the difference between a contextualized algebra problem and a modeling problem that uses equations to describe a situation? In these standards, a task is considered to belong more in Modeling, the more it is the case that: The math techniques to be used are not stated explicitly in the problem. However, beginning/developmental modeling tasks can walk the student through the techniques, as a way to show their use. Various assumptions must be imposed by the student to apply the techniques; these assumptions are not explicitly stated in the problem; and differing sets of assumptions could all be considered reasonable. The task involves making a decision about something. The task involves an optimization of some kind. The context is not a pretext. While the task inevitably teaches mathematics, its primary focus is the situation or phenomenon at hand. The phenomenon or situation is interesting or worthwhile beyond the academic discourse of the classroom.

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Some Controversy (Part 2) 4. Core Concept A; Core Concept B; Core Skill 1. In a country with 300 million people, about how many high school math teachers will be needed? Try to estimate a sensible answer using your own everyday knowledge about the world. Write an explanation of your answer, stating any assumptions you make. Likewise, estimate the number of people born each day on planet earth. Likewise, estimate the percentage of Americans who are pregnant at any given time. Also estimate the percentage of elephants who are pregnant at any given time.

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