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Why Is the Math Program Changing?

Math Work Group

In 2008–2009, a representative group of teachers, parents, principals, community members, and central office staff gathered for 18 months to review the MCPS mathematics program.

Their work resulted in a number of recommendations regarding curriculum, acceleration, system achievement targets, and professional development.

Several of the key recommendations included

  • adopting the then-in-development Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
  • reviewing the impact of the CCSS on the MCPS math program and system targets
  • expanding professional development in mathematics
  • and eliminating grade-level skipping of mathematics content while continuing practices that challenge students who consistently demonstrate proficiency.

Internationally Driven Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

Over the last decade, the United States has consistently ranked below 20 other nations in K–12 mathematics. The CCSS in Mathematics were developed to improve students’ understanding of mathematics compared with their international peers.

A consortium of 48 states was formed in 2008 to guide development of new standards, which outline what students should know and be able to do.

The authors of the CCSS reviewed best practices internationally and consulted content experts to create a focused, coherent, and rigorous set of standards. Maryland adopted the CCSS in June of 2010.

MCPS compared the CCSS with the 2001 curriculum standards and found that

  • Many of the CCSS are more complex and challenging.
  • Many of the CCSS standards are located in earlier grades than in the previous MCPS curriculum.
  • The CCSS, like standards in many successful nations, focus on students developing deep understanding in mathematics, defined as
    • the appropriate balance among conceptual understanding
    • procedural skill
    • and problem solving with an emphasis on application.

The Changing Definition of College and Career Readiness

Beginning with students who entered Grade 9 in 2011, the colleges and universities within the University System of Maryland are expecting students to complete Algebra 2 or a significant mathematics course with advanced content during their senior year.

In addition, many schools and employers are looking for the 21st century skills such as persistence, collaboration, and critical and creative Words in blue italic are defined on the back of this booklet. thinking that are the focus of Curriculum 2.0.