NEW: A Comparison of Math Standards: State, NCTM, CC and International Standards

This new file includes information on international math standards in the comparison.

Some say there has been much “misinformation” spread about the new Common Core national standards that Georgia adopted in exchange for a federal Race to the Top grant. Indeed there has. One
critical piece of misinformation is the claim that the Common Core math standards are more “rigorous” than our previous Georgia Performance Standards. I did my own research on this question and
found that the truth is quite the opposite.

I have been a math teacher for 25 years and currently serve as a professor of math and science education at Mercer University. As a frequent presenter at the National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics (NCTM) Regional Conferences and Annual Meetings, I saw the building excitement over the new Common Core standards while they were still in development. In the vast exhibit halls at
the Annual NCTM meetings, Common Core logos were everywhere. These standards were discussed and promoted well before they were even revealed. Textbook publishers worked diligently to re-name
their materials so they could be marketed as aligned to the Common Core. I was writing an online curriculum guide at the time and was asked to do the same.

I realized I needed to see the big picture – where will these national standards take us? -- instead of playing the “alignment” game to help sell a product. So now that the Common Core standards
are published and being implemented, I decided to compare them to the NCTM Principles and Standards published in 2000, the previous Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), and the well-regarded
Massachusetts state standards that were in effect before Massachusetts traded them for Common Core. I created a spreadsheet with 5 tabs, one for each of the former NCTM Content Standards: Number
and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, and Data Analysis/Probability. I analyzed every standard in all five areas for grades kindergarten through 8^{th} grade (and also reviewed
the Common Core standards for high school).

After spending hours on this project, I am convinced that the Common Core national standards will set our children back one to two years. The national standards are markedly inferior to all three
sets of standards I used for comparison. I challenge any “curriculum expert” at the Georgia Department of Education to review my spreadsheet – available at http://marykaybacallao.jimdo.com/common-core-math-standards/-- line by line and
offer an honest assessment. It is in comparing the old standards with the new that we will find the truth.

So what is missing in the new Common Core Math Standards? A few examples:

1. Mean, median, mode, and range -- gone in elementary grades.

2. The concept of pi, including area and circumference of circles – gone in elementary grades.

3. The Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic (prime factorization) – gone completely.

4. Using fractions, decimals, and percents interchangeably -- gone completely.

5. Measurement -density – no measurement instruction after 5^{th} grade.

6. Division of a fraction by a fraction – gone in elementary grades.

7. Algebra -- inadequate readiness in the elementary grades and pushed back one year (from middle school – 8^{th} grade – to high school – 9^{th} grade). This means the
majority of Georgia students will not reach calculus in high school, as expected by selective universities.

8. Geometry -- simple skills such as calculating the area of triangles, parallelograms and polygons are no longer taught in elementary grades.

But Common Core proponents will argue that NCTM supports Common Core, so the standards must be good. Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily so. NCTM has been hijacked by political operators who
are less interested in true mathematics education than in cultivating the good graces of the powerful entities behind Common Core. In fact, later this summer NCTM will install as Executive
Director a man who has no experience in mathematics, mathematics education, or working with teachers. Teachers, we need to rise up and demand that our national organization reconsider supporting
these inferior standards.

I taught elementary math for nine years. I know what students are capable of – and they are capable of so much more than what Common Core requires. When our previous standards actually challenged
students, why are we settling for the mediocrity of Common Core?

Probability and Statistics

Number and Operations Comparisons in Word for NCTM, CC, GPS and Mass.

Algebra Comparisons in Word for NCTM, CC, GPS and Mass.

A Comparison of Math Standards

Click here to download the NCTM, GPS, Common Core Math and Massachusetts Math Standards side by side for grades K-8

Dr. Mary Kay Bacallao presented at the NCTM Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado in April of 2013.

Please feel free to post your thoughts and comments on Common Core math here. Thank you.

So what is missing in the new Common Core Math Standards? A few examples:

Mean, median, mode, and range -- gone in elementary grades.

The concept of pi, including area and circumference of circles – gone in elementary grades.

The Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic (prime factorization) – gone completely.

Using fractions, decimals, and percents interchangeably -- gone completely.

Measurement -density
– no measurement instruction after 5^{th} grade.

Division of a fraction by a fraction – gone in elementary grades.

Algebra -- inadequate
readiness in the elementary grades and pushed back one year (from middle school – 8^{th} grade – to high school – 9^{th} grade). This means the majority of Georgia students will
not reach calculus in high school, as expected by selective universities.

Geometry -- simple skills such as calculating the area of triangles, parallelograms and polygons are no longer taught in elementary grades.

Hi Virginia,

I am glad you asked this question. What is missing is the division of a fraction

by a fraction. Common Core included multiplication and division in 5th grade and they do divide a fraction by a whole number but not a fraction or mixed number by a fraction. It is specifically
noted in the Common Core Math that, “Division of a fraction by a fraction is not a requirement,” in 5th grade. The concept of inverse operations and what it actually means to divide a fraction by
a fraction are important foundations that have been a part of elementary school math as long as I can remember. In chapter 3 of Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers’ Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States, Liping Ma writes of the
importance of teaching and knowing division of fractions and mixed numbers by fractions. Internationally, this is an important elementary level concept. In Common Core Math, it is no longer
taught at the elementary level.

Listening Session in Lawrenceville

CC Math Standards

CC Math Standards Appendix

21#21Barbara G cunningham(Wednesday, 24 February 2021 18:33)Hi MaryKay,

This Math compilation, you have presented on Common Core, is brilliant. You have created an excellent comparison. As you know, I worked against CommonCore for 5 years with the Georgia Senate. Of course Governor Deal would not banish Common Core, as well as the liberal Ga.house. Governor Ligon tried for years, in the senate. Now he has filed a lawsuit against Kemp, Rassensperger, etc., and resigned from the senate,this year because he has five children to send to college. Barbara Cunningham

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#11Mary Kay Bacallao(Monday, 19 May 2014 06:33)For the past 10 years I have taught classes on how to teach math in the elementary school. We have always taught for depth and understanding. The problem with the new standards is that they are specific to grade level and not specific to what students need. That is why I am advocating for placement testing rather than one size fits all criterion referenced testing. To move the standard algorithm for addition and subtraction to 4th grade and then have students learn all kinds of ways but not the standard way until 4th grade is going to put our students behind the rest of the world. Yes we want depth and understanding, but no, we should not move all the challenging concepts out of elementary school. The other countries are building the foundations in elementary school and they do include so much more. Since I taught elementary school for 9 years I know they are capable of so much more, and they can understand it. So many very important elemenatary math concepts are just not there anymore.

#10Mary Kay Bacallao(Monday, 19 May 2014 06:25)Since the common core stantards are copyrighted and held by a private organization, I would be violating the copyright agreement by posting them in their entirety because the copyright is only free for those who are in support of the Common Core State Standards initiative. The actual copyright reads, "THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS ARE PROVIDED UNDER THE TERMS OF THIS PUBLIC LICENSE. THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS ARE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT AND/OR OTHER APPLICABLE LAW. ANY USE OF THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS OTHER THAN AS AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS LICENSE OR COPYRIGHT LAW IS PROHIBITED.

ANY PERSON WHO EXERCISES ANY RIGHTS TO THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS THEREBY ACCEPTS AND AGREES TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS LICENSE. THE RIGHTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE GRANTED IN CONSIDERATION OF ACCEPTANCE OF SUCH TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

License Grant:

The NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) hereby grant a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to copy, publish, distribute, and display the Common Core State Standards for purposes that support the Common Core State Standards Initiative. These uses may involve the Common Core State Standards as a whole or selected excerpts or portions."

#9Elizabeth (

Sunday, 18 May 2014 17:13)Dr. Bacallao, I agree with much of what you have said, such as decentralizing schools, giving teachers more freedom to teach, and less bureaucracy. However, I have taught elementary math under the old GPS and the new Common Core curriculum. I agree that Common Core has its problems, however the comparison of standards is deceptive. Under the new common core, there are 28 math standards which must be taught in 4th grade, not merely the few shown. The main difference I see has been in the depth of knowledge. GPS only required students to gain a basic understanding of the concepts whereas under common core students are required to apply their understanding and think a bit more critically.

#8Christina DeLaigle(Wednesday, 14 May 2014 06:08)I think it is time we take back our government from those whose pocketbooks are being lined by corporations who don't want success at any level except their own. Their children are privately tutored or sent to upper echelon schools where they learn to get theirs before anyone else does and that leaves a top-heavy 1% and lots of mouths left to be hand-fed or starve. This is a smart read and we'd all better care about the crap the Common Core people are touting before we end up with our students too far behind the world's learning curve before it's too late to catch up. Retired teacher, Christina T. DeLaigle

#7Sandra Mara (

Friday, 09 May 2014 00:39)This is a cancer that must be eradicated. Education needs to be strictly on a local and state level. I will be fighting, on the National level, to have our Senators and Representatives to rid America of the National Education Association. Since it's inception, our education has been on a downhill spiral. We owe our children the best education possible.

#6Elizabeth Riggs, PhD (

Thursday, 24 April 2014 11:58)Don't get me started - Common Core is horrible. My take is to go back to basics. Use Saxon Math standards; use Singapore Math standards. Go back to rote memorization of basic calculations (addition tables, subtraction tables, multiplication tables, division tables). There is NOTHING wrong with memorization - it provides a matrix for the student to organize and insert new information.

My mother-in-law taught math and decision sciences at Ga State for decades. She had committed the log tables to memory and could complete complex calculations faster than her students could run them on their electronic calculators. She encouraged memorization of math facts, grammar facts, spelling facts, formulas - any factual materials - and that helped me with all my statistics classes for my PhD - and I took extra statistics classes. I enjoyed them.

Reinstate arduous physical education in middle and high schools, and reinstate recess with physical games in the first 5 grades.

And lastly for this rant, teachers MUST oversee students for symptoms of bullying or evidence of bullying, and MUST intervene.

I'm voting for you based on your opinions on Common Core, and PRAYING you don't become corrupted by government and lobbyist monies.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Riggs, PhD, RN

#5marykaybacallao (

Monday, 27 January 2014 08:05)The complete list is in the spreadsheet available for download above. When you download it, you will see all the standards side by side to see how many standards are missing. Also, the Appendix of the CC document lists all the missing standards at the high school level with an asterisk* so they are easy to identify.

#4Cathy(Sunday, 19 January 2014 22:00)Do you happen to have a complete list of the missing standards? The examples you provided are great, but if I'm to approach a school official I think it would be better to have a complete list.

Thanks!

#3Mary Kay Bacallao (

Friday, 11 October 2013 23:05)Hi Karen,

Thank you for your comment. Division of a fraction by a fraction is now taught in 6th grade in Common Core math. I have taught math at the elementary level and math methods for pre-service teachers for the past 25 years. This concept has always been taught at the elementary school level. Now it is introduced at the middle school level.

#2Karen Bracken (

Friday, 11 October 2013 11:48)If dividing a fraction by a fraction is not taught in 5th grade when is it taught or is dropped from math education completely in Common Core? It is these basic type of facts that will help the math layman deliver a clear message to parents so they will understand exactly what used to be taught and what is no longer taught. Not teaching division of a fraction by a fraction are words an average parent can relate too.

#1virginiatibbetts@hotmail.com(Sunday, 28 July 2013 18:07)Barbara, I agree with this list except for #6. In the CC fractions, both multiplication and division are mentioned in grade 5, and division is part of grade 6 as well. Can you clarify your position on #6. Thanks.