# Why I Hate Common Core Math

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Overall PS is the right placement for my DD but I hate, hate, HATE Common Core math. The word problems are so convoluted and it becomes a language comprehension exercise rather than a math exercise. Here is a sample problem from my DD's homework:

There are 10 cupcakes on a tray and 8 on the table. On the tray, there are 9 vanilla cupcakes. The rest of the cupcakes are chocolate. How many cupcakes are chocolate?

She could do the math fine if it were worded in a more easy to follow manner like this:

A. There are 10 cupcakes on a tray and 8 on the table. How many cupcakes are there in all?

B. 9 of the cupcakes are vanilla and the rest are chocolate. How many chocolate cupcakes are there?

Why does it matter where the vanilla cupcakes are located? The wording just confuses her and she's trying to subtract 9 from 8 instead of from 18. :banghead:

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As with most common core math complaints I have seen, this seems like a "poorly written problem" issue not a "common core" issue. I've studied the common core math standards quite closely and find nothing in them that would dictate problems being written in a confusing manner.

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I had to thwack my head a bit there and realize they were trying to screw the kids up. I'm all for challenging kids with word problems that really make them think, but nobody would say it that way. It's not immediately clear what "the rest" refers to, what the antecedent is. The preceding thing, what it appears to be referring to, is the number on the tray. So they are just, well I can't think of anything nice to say. They're intentionally being ambiguous to trip kids up.

I don't think they need to give the steps for a multi-step problem, but they ought to have curriculum writers who write clearly.

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As with most common core math complaints I have seen, this seems like a "poorly written problem" issue not a "common core" issue. I've studied the common core math standards quite closely and find nothing in them that would dictate problems being written in a confusing manner.

Thank you for saying this so politely! It wasn't necessary for them to break down the steps for the student, as that was the point of the exercise. It's just so ambiguously written, so ill-written, that it's confusing.

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Are there 8 trays or 8 cupcakes on the table?

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Overall PS is the right placement for my DD but I hate, hate, HATE Common Core math. The word problems are so convoluted and it becomes a language comprehension exercise rather than a math exercise. Here is a sample problem from my DD's homework:

She could do the math fine if it were worded in a more easy to follow manner like this:

Why does it matter where the vanilla cupcakes are located? The wording just confuses her and she's trying to subtract 9 from 8 instead of from 18. :banghead:

I think they are confusing them on purpose as it is an exercise in thinking ... but kids are not used to the concept of "trick questions."  1st grade Singapore used to bug me because they would ask addition / subtraction questions via long sentences - move one little word in the sentence and it changes the answer.  Little kids aren't wired for that kind of sneakiness.

Example:  "One more than 9 is __."  followed by  "9 is one more than __."

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I've used Singapore CWP. They are designed to make the kids think, but they are not badly worded the way Common Core Math is. And that's the name of the program: "Common Core Math". Our district used to use Scott Foresman until our state adopted CCSS. It wasn't an amazing program but it wasn't horrible like Common Core Math is.

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My DD's school uses Everyday Math. They don't have anything other than basic word problems at this point (1st grade) but I'm seeing some funky stuff that makes me shake my head. Like last night she was given what they call a "Math Facts Table," basically 1 to 10 on two axes, a hundreds chart in the middle, then they're given addition problems to answer using the table. They're supposed to lay a square over the table so that the edges of the square cover the numbers they're adding, and the corner points to the answer. WHY????????

DD has her math facts memorized so she didn't even bother, but seriously what's the point? Can you teach a little mental math? Or at least have them memorize? Are they supposed to carry a math facts table around everywhere they go?

So yeah, implementation of common core math is ridiculous. If they really want to standardize, and make sure our kids are learning in a way that will help them truly understand math and succeed in the future, why aren't all schools using Singapore-type texts?

Edited by nature girl
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The convoluted story problem questions were a problem for us last year, too. Our school uses Everyday Math through fifth grade. Last year we had to help our kids with their homework nightly, and there were many times when DH and I were annoyed at the curriculum, because it seemed designed to confuse. This year I only have one child using EM, and he completes his work at school, so I'm out of the equation, thankfully. In sixth grade, our school uses a different program, and I'm thankful.

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It's hard for dyslexics. I think it's good for most kids. We need kids who can think , not kids who believe 'reading' and 'math' are different unconnected categories.

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I've used Singapore CWP. They are designed to make the kids think, but they are not badly worded the way Common Core Math is. And that's the name of the program: "Common Core Math". Our district used to use Scott Foresman until our state adopted CCSS. It wasn't an amazing program but it wasn't horrible like Common Core Math is.

I do think this is a common issue in the implementation of the Common Core standards--they were rolled out quickly and textbook and worksheet producers scrambled to throw together new offerings, often shoddy.

Not the fault of the standards themselves. Lots of quality programs are also common core aligned.

Edited by maize
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I was hoping Everyday Math had been completely ditched. When dd was in school they used that for 1 year and it was truly horrendous. The math scores plummeted that year and they switched again, but to TERC Investigations, which I can't really say anything good about either.

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My DS has dyscalculia. When I started using Ronit Bird, I noted there were similarities between her work and Chicago Math and that seemed like a good thing. The fact is, not all students need RB or Chicago Math understanding because they naturally intuit the concepts. My DD only needs to see a concept once and she understands. Students like her just don't need the extras because the extra ways to solve hold her back.

Now when DS was in the classroom, his teachers were math clueless and had never gone beyond a College Algebra class at university. I think a teacher should master math at least two levels above what they are teaching to students.

I don't take issue with CC. I'm annoyed by the publisher's version of it combined with ineffectual teaching. If I were teaching a math class, my students would not be bothered with a BS question like the one Crimson posted because I wouldn't assign it.

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I do think this is a common issue in the implementation of the Common Core standards--they were rolled out quickly and textbook and worksheet producers scrambled to throw together new offerings, often shoddy.

Not the fault of the standards themselves. Lots of quality programs are also common core aligned.

Agree, and I'm flabbergasted that they haven't been revised after so much pushback from parents. I'd guess teachers aren't thrilled either.

I was hoping Everyday Math had been completely ditched. When dd was in school they used that for 1 year and it was truly horrendous. The math scores plummeted that year and they switched again, but to TERC Investigations, which I can't really say anything good about either.

For 1st grade I haven't seen anything truly horrible about EM yet (with the exception of that ridiculous "math facts table" I mentioned above), although I know people here seem to hate it, so I'm assuming it gets worse...They do seem to be going awfully slowly, though. The year is more than half over and they haven't even gotten to subtraction yet, are only just starting addition to 20. But they've used the tools I'd expect for this age.

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I do think this is a common issue in the implementation of the Common Core standards--they were rolled out quickly and textbook and worksheet producers scrambled to throw together new offerings, often shoddy.

Not the fault of the standards themselves. Lots of quality programs are also common core aligned.

Yep.

Curriculum supposed to support/follow common core was not properly vetted and teachers have not been well trained in math anyway, at nearly any level. Very few elemenatary and middle school teachers really have a super solid grasp of math and how to effectively teach it, as far as I can see, and have not been taught different ways of approaching the material to help students connect. Teacher training needs to be revamped and so do a lot of the poorly designed Common Core aligned materials. Standards themselves are really not nearly the problem they are made out to be. This goes much deeper and broDer

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My daughter, a junior in high school who has always gotten good grades overall, especially in math (when she began high school after homeschooling, her math teacher was very surprised to learn she had been a homeschooler. She basically told me to pat myself on the back because of what a good job I had done teaching her math.  No, it wasn't me, it was just a good solid foundation in math: Math-U-See and Saxon.)

Anyway, my daughter was mentoring with a fifth-grader the other day, who needed help in the new common core math. My daughter said it was so confusing, they just put it away.  Oh!  That should tell them something!  Schools need to be careful...Why waste all these years for these kids on another experiment?!

I am teaching back in the public school now, and all the talk is intervention, intervention, intervention...Where is the teaching that is supposed to happen before that?! (if the math problems were worded better, they won't need the extra help!)

I feel like kids are just going along with a mediocre education, but don't worry...there will be help out there to pull you through.   But really? I wonder what will happen in high school or when they graduate... it will be time to think on their own, and they won't be used to doing that. It's very frustrating and sad...

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