Table of Contents

Unit 1: Teaching and Learning the Standards for Mathematical Practice

1.1.1 The Standards for Mathematical Content

To establish a context for the SMP, this section will provide a brief overview of the Standards for Mathematical Content.

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Important Shifts in Mathematics

The content standards are organized around domains and coherent clusters. The CCSS seek to illustrate increased FOCUS, COHERENCE, and RIGOR:

  • Focus: Strongly emphasized at appropriate grade levels for deep understanding
  • Coherence: Thinking across grade levels, and linking to major topics within grade levels
  • Rigor: Pursue, with equal intensity, conceptual understanding; procedural skill and fluency; and application in major topics

The CCSS focus on fewer topics to allow for a greater in-depth examination of mathematics concepts. As a result of a clearly defined coherence across grade levels, students’ conceptual understanding develops to allow for mastery of mathematical concepts. The content focuses on a rigorous set of skills at each grade level, enabling students to build a strong foundational understanding of mathematics. For example, in the early grades there is a greater emphasis on number concepts and skills. The key to student understanding is a balance of skill and procedure with a clear focus on conceptual development.

Standards that are rigorous, coherent, and focused provide better guidance to educators, students, and parents about desired learning outcomes. The standards aim for clarity and specificity, and also stress conceptual understanding of key ideas. In addition, the standards provide a balance of procedural skills and conceptual development to support students’ mathematical understanding.