The Fordham Institute released a national teacher survey on Common Core math. They conducted an online survey of a representative sample of 1,003 K–8 public school math teachers from the forty-three states (as well as the District of Columbia) that had adopted and retained the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics as of March 2015.
There are some interesting findings that Fordham isn’t going to bring much attention to, but I thought was worth noting.
There is a drop in memorization of basic math formulas and times tables.
40% of teachers indicated they have fewer students memorizing basic math formulas and times tables. Only 9% said they had more.
55% of teachers say curriculum is well-aligned with Common Core.
This appears to contradict the narrative that the curriculum being offered to teachers isn’t well aligned to dispel criticism about how Common Core is taught. 42% said that it wasn’t, but I find it interesting a clear majority said that the curriculum is.
A majority of teachers are teaching multiple methods.
Common Core had made a significant impact on pedagogy. A total of 56% of teachers say they are teaching multiple methods. This includes 65% of K-2 teachers and 65% of 3-5 grade teachers.
They note that fewer teachers in grades 3-5 and middle school believe their students can do basic math formulas.
Consistent with the expectation in CCSS-M that students be fluent in the standard algorithm for each of the four basic operations, 32 percent of K–2 teachers say that they have more students who can “do simple calculations with speed and accuracy” now than before the CCSS-M (22 percent say fewer). This is reversed, however, in the other two grade bands, with larger numbers of teachers reporting that fewer students can complete simple calculations. The results for middle school teachers are particularly concerning, with just 13 percent reporting that more students can perform simple calculations and 39 percent reporting that fewer can. (Note that these middle school students started elementary school before the Common Core standards were adopted and implemented.)
They also note that students are increasingly stressed by math standards.
In general, teachers see the CCSS-M as a source of stress for students. For instance, 42 percent of teachers overall say that they have more students with “math anxiety” than before the CCSS-M were implemented, and 53 percent agree that “expectations are unrealistic.” In each of these cases, the higher the grade band, the more likely teachers are to report that students are encountering difficulties.
A majority of teachers believe that Common Core will have long-term benefits, but not an overwhelming majority.
There is a significant swatch of K-8 math teachers are who are not convinced.
Bear in mind this is several years after adoption and implementation. If Common Core is as wonderful as Common Core advocates have claimed shouldn’t these numbers be higher?