This Summer, strengthen your child’s Common Core

Frustrated_CommonCoreThe push for common core school curriculum began in 2009, with the idea that this standardized curriculum would get students thinking about the solutions to problems, rather than just arriving at the answers.

Generally, the math common core assignments require problem-solving strategies to be shown, rather than just having the answers written. This is important because it provides the necessity of students thinking about how they arrived at the answer. However, a lot of the time when students do mental math or solve the problem in a way that is not on the rubric, this involves a grading penalty.


The debate for vs. against common core is complicated, as there are significant pros and cons to each side. Some of the most important points, both for and against, can be read here.

The strengths of common core principles are to require students to think about why answers are true, rather than that they are true. The image below shows two different ways of thinking about the same problem, one of which requires addition strategies that people who have not learned common core will be more familiar with, the other way a method of solving the problem that goes with grouping of 10s and 1s.

Both problems, obviously, lead to the correct answer. But in a graded method, only the work shown on the right would be graded as a correct solution. The question behind this problem is: if a student solves the problem correctly, in the “old way”, is it fair to penalize him/her? If the point of the lesson was to practice the new problem solving technique of grouping 10s and 1s, the “old way” would not demonstrate understanding of the concept, but it is not wrong. So is it fair?

The argument could go either way, but the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter your opinion on common core, because that’s the reality of school teaching today. It’s important to focus on the how instead of the why; rather than asking ourselves why common core is necessary, we should be asking ourselves how we can set our children up for success with the common core worksheets they are assigned.

At Mathnasium of Avon, we take pride in using the Socratic method of teaching math where we always ask, even if a child has the right answer, how they got to that answer. This approach helps them in classroom as well with the Common Core standards. To know more about how we can help your child get ahead and stay ahead in Math, contact us today.

Mathnasium of Avon has been recently voted the Best Tutoring center in the Farmington Valley and we work with students with autism too! Call us today at 860-785-6284 to find out how we can help your child excel in Math.