Common Core issues have been on the rise, the expanded “show your working” techniques make calculations bulky and slow, are not college-level but aimed at cashier work, and wrong answers can still pass.

Common Core confusions

Recently some controversy about the recent Common Core model used for education in America.

Behind the times

The reason why America is taking on Common Core is due to American test scores lagging behind many other countries in education, including New Zealand. Common Core is supposed to be a way to improve on this and get kids ready for college, but it has its problems.

America test scores lag behind many other countries

Lots of little circles

Common core has people add numbers together not by the traditional method of placing the numbers over each other and adding up to a total, but instead by breaking up the numbers in to different groups of circles, combining groups of 10 from each group, and then adding up the number of circles.

This is not a technique that’s used for lower grades either. It’s used all the way through secondary school too. See for example this lesson on adding together decimal numbers. This video demonstrates what is expected when you are asked to show your work.

3×4=11 can be a correct answer

Because so much effort goes in to showing your work, you can also now get the wrong answer for something like 3×4=11 but still gain a passing score for showing your work, and how you arrived at such an answer.

Cashier math

Another technique that Common Core strongly pushes is the one that cashiers use when counting out your change, by counting up to friendly numbers such as multiples of 10 and adding up the steps that you’ve taken to get there. It can though be a difficult process to understand even when it’s explained out, as this video demonstrates.

Students resort to traditional techniques

Even when students have been taught such techniques though, when they are asked to apply it in an exam situation we find that over 90% of them use the traditional techniques to figure out what the answer is, and then work backwards from there, to figure out which answer they should provide.

It’s a rocky start for Common Core, and the above examples only just start to scratch the surface of the problems that lie within.

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