- The California State Board of Education adopted a revised math framework for grades K-12 last week that the state said will deepen math learning, address achievement gaps and modernize instruction.
- The state's revision to its decade-old math framework took four years. A major focus of the updated framework calls for practical connections to math to show students how they can integrate math beyond math classrooms and schoolhouse doors.
- Virginia and Georgia are also in the process of considering and implementing new standards for math instruction that will emphasize problem solving, math language and concepts, and the ability to make connections to previous math instruction and other courses.
Although three states' revisions are part of regularly scheduled updates to math standards, decision-makers are considering public input and research on how best to align math instruction to 21st century workplace skills. They are also keen on making math instruction engaging and relevant for students.
California's framework, for example, "emphasizes development of the habits of mind and habits of interaction," such as problem solving, explaining one’s thinking and constructing arguments. The update includes a focus on skills "that students need in order to become powerful users of mathematics and better interpret and understand their world," a summary of the new framework said.
This includes formulating standards around “big ideas” that better integrate transitional K-12 math concepts from grade to grade.
In Virginia, which is just starting its revision process, a draft document also emphasizes students' agency and involvement.
Implementation of Georgia's new math standards will begin this upcoming school year after two full school years of teacher training. The state's "big ideas" for math instruction, such as mathematical modeling, data and statistical reasoning, and geometric and spatial reasoning, span grades K-12. Probability reasoning, probabilistic reasoning, and functional and graphical reasoning are reserved for secondary students.
"Student engagement increases with mathematical tasks that employ the use of relevant, applied contexts and provide an appropriate level of cognitive challenge," the document said. "All students, including students with disabilities, gifted learners, and English language learners deserve high-quality mathematics instruction that addresses individual learning needs and challenges all students."
States have also indicated a need to improve students' math performance. In the summary, California said its students performed below the U.S. average on the Programme for International Student Assessment and that U.S. 15-year-olds score lower than those in 30 other nations.
Additionally, the state notes that historically underserved students of color and those from low-income families show lower math achievement outcomes than other groups.