Are You a Parent Frustrated with Common Core Math Standards? You Aren’t Alone.

Jan 31, 2018 | Granada Hills

Understand the rationale behind the move to Common Core... and how Mathnasium can help!


Lately, many parents in Los Angeles have been scratching their head in confusion as they looked at their child’s math work.  Common core standards are shifting math education. Parents are frustrated by not understanding what their child is being asked to do in math.

Even some teachers and educators are baffled by some of the changes in the way they have to teach math. A lot of parents have asked us at Mathnasium, “What are Common Core Math Standards?” and “Why is math suddenly being taught differently?”

Common Core State Standards set guidelines and criteria to help educators know what lessons to include in the curriculum. As an example, a 4th grade math standard is Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems.”  How the standard is implemented is up to the school district. The schools and educators decide how to teach fourth graders to add, subtract, multiply and divide to solve problems in line with the new standards.

So What Changed with the New Common Core Math Standards?

The standards aim to teach deep mathematical thinking and to prepare children for the jobs of tomorrow. From Kindergarten to 12th grade there were 3 key shifts in the math standards.

  1. Each concept will be taught in more depth to build a solid understanding. Students must be able apply math skills to solve complex problems.
  2. Math concepts build on each other in progression and new learning must be integrated with previous learning.
  3. Students will understand key concepts and procedural skills and be able to apply their procedural skills and conceptual understanding to a variety of problems.

In short, children will have a deeper understanding of all math and not just follow a series of steps to arrive at an answer. The problem is learning how to achieve the goals. This is difficult and switching a paradigm of thinking is even more difficult. After years of teaching and learning under one set of standards, expect some struggles as everyone adapts to the new criteria.

What Does that Mean for My Child?

Children who entered kindergarten in the last few years, started their schooling with the new standards and will probably be better prepared for future grades. Middle school and high school children will have to shift the way they think about math. And parents who help their children will have to shift the way they help their children. Parents can’t rely on just showing a child the tricks they learned in school. Today’s children must think on a deeper level, apply math differently, and explain their thinking.

Since mathematical thinking builds from one grade to another, tenth graders are now struggling to meet standards because they lack the mathematical foundation for achieving them. Even fifth graders lack the vocabulary and higher order thinking skills in math needed to transition to the current rigorous standards. Many students in Los Angeles are struggling to adapt. Right answers aren’t enough if they can’t explain how they got it or why they approached it a certain way. Parents don’t have the tools to help them.

How Mathnasium Helps

At Mathnasium, we understand the standards. We know what typically frustrates children in different grade levels as they attempt to transition to the new standards. Our extensive assessment uncovers any gaps in their mathematical foundation. Then we take the time to explain to the parent and child exactly where a child is struggling, and address each gap in conceptual understanding and number sense.

We use various approaches to replace misconceptions with solid understanding. We go at the pace of each individual child. The child’s confidence and ability to perform high-level tasks sky rockets. After getting instruction at Mathnasium, 93% of parents report that their children’s attitude towards math improved, and 94% report their child's skills improved (see more about our results here).

Children learn math in different ways and at different speeds. At Mathnasiusm, we teach each child using the approach that makes sense to them. We go at the pace of each student, so they experience success not frustration.

Call us today at (818) 368-8249 to set up your free assessment, or click here to learn more about our assessment process.

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