Reaching the Mountaintop: Addressing the Common Core Standards in Mathematics for Students with Mathematics Difficulties

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  • This research was supported by Award Number R01HD059179 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development to Vanderbilt University. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Sarah R. Powell, 417 Emmet Street South, Charlottesville, VA 22904. Electronic inquiries should be sent to powell.r.sarah@gmail.com.

Abstract

The Common Core State Standards provide teachers with a framework of necessary mathematics skills across grades K-12, which vary considerably from previous mathematics standards. In this article, we discuss concerns about the implications of the Common Core for students with mathematics difficulties (MD), given that students with MD, by definition, struggle with mathematical skills. We suggest that instruction centered on the Common Core will be challenging and may lead to problematic outcomes for this population. We propose that working on foundational skills related to the Common Core standards is a necessary component of mathematics instruction for students with MD, and we provide teachers with a framework for working on foundational skills concurrent with the Common Core standards. We caution, however, that implementation of the Common Core is in its infancy, and the implications of the Common Core for students with MD need to be monitored carefully.

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