American high school students also perform far below the international average in math. Currently, they rank 27th in mathematics, while Korean and Japanese students lead the world. Between 2003 and 2012, the average math score in the United States actually decreased 2 points, while Korea’s shot up 12 points. Even the most affluent American students scored significantly below the average score of other countries. For example, American students in the highest economic quartile scored 81 points lower than the average student in Shanghai, China.
The Common Core State Standards—which 43 states and the District of Columbia currently use—were developed to address these problems. Through the Common Core, students are taught to understand both the procedures for doing math problems—such as memorizing multiplication tables or learning to “carry the 1”—and how and why these procedures work. This approach allows students to more deeply understand the concepts that underlie mathematics, improve their critical thinking skills, approach problems from different perspectives, and apply what they learn to real-world problems.
For more on this idea, please see:
- Math Matters: How the Common Core Will Help the United States Bring Up Its Grade on Mathematics Education by Max Marchitello and Catherine Brown