Welcome to the Westborough Public School's Math Curriculum website! Massachusetts, along with 46 other states, has recently adopted a set of common, internationally-benchmarked academic standards in mathematics. These Common Core State Standards are important because they help all children learn the same skills. They create clear expectations for what your child should know and be able to do in key areas of mathematics. The Common Core State Standards in mathematics articulate a progression of learning that deepens a student’s ability to understand and use mathematics. These Standards emphasize three key shifts in mathematics instruction: FOCUS, COHERENCE, and RIGOR. In the past, students and teachers were expected to merely cover many topics in one year. In contrast, the Common Core Standards focus on key topics at each grade level to allow educators and students to go deeper into the content. Core conceptual understandings and procedures that should be emphasized at each grade level have been identified, thus enabling teachers to take the time needed to teach core concepts and procedures well – and to give students the opportunity to really master them. As such, these new Standards address the problem of a previous math curriculum that was “a mile wide and an inch deep.” These Standards are designed around coherent progressions from grade to grade. Teachers carefully connect the learning across grades so that students can build new understanding onto foundations built in previous years. Teachers can begin to count on deep conceptual understanding of core content and build on it. Each standard is not a new event, but an extension of previous learning. The Standards also call for rigor in conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application. In order to build mathematical proficiency, students need to understand the math concepts (versus just how to get an answer), perform the procedures with fluency (speed and accuracy), and apply math to real world situations.
Our goal in today’s math classrooms is to make sure there is an appropriate balance between ensuring that students deeply understand the math skills and concepts on the one hand, and memorizing facts and procedures on the other hand. We want our students to be able to do mathematics, but we also want them to understand the math they are doing. We recognize that as math tasks increase in complexity, an understanding of facts, formulas, and algorithms will help them experience continued success. We have not changed our view of the importance of basic math facts. We know that they are a foundational skill without which our students will view even simple math tasks as daunting. We have simply expanded our expectations to include understanding as an important component of our teaching of basic math facts. Our goal is both automaticity and understanding. Automaticity is students’ ability to effortlessly recall a fact. If students are automatic, they have successfully committed the facts to memory. In addition, we want our students to understand, not simply remember, these important math facts. Although basic math facts will be introduced, taught and practiced in school throughout the year, we need your support at home. Parents play a key role in helping children master basic facts. The following chart outlines the end of year expectations with regards to basic math facts at each grade level.
Throughout the year, we will continue to adjust and refine our mathematics curriculum in order to meet the standards and expectations set forth by the state. Our goal is to provide all students with experiences in the classroom that will help them truly understand the mathematics they are doing as well as enjoy math. Thank you in advance for your support!
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