Common Core Analysis


Common Core implementation has been occurring in Illinois since 2010, but major changes in curriculum did not happen at Central until the last two years.

These changes affect first through twelfth grade and include students thinking through the why of a problem and not just the how. Teachers at the high school level are incorporating a new variety of word problems that require students to give an explanation of their work instead of just simply providing an answer.

“Common Core pushes a student’s ability to think critically,” said Mrs. Kelly Griffin, a math teacher. “So, something that you might see [now] in math classes is the ability to synthesize math in a word problem or in real life scenario or to think one step beyond just a basic problem.”

The main goal of Common Core is to have students think at a deeper level that fills in gaps in understanding; it also sets up a consistent curriculum taught from town to town, county to county, and the nation as a whole.

“There are a list of Common Core topics that [teachers] have to cover. I’d say we’ve made it our goal to hit every single standard and then some,” Mrs. Griffin said. “This way, if a student from let’s say California moves to Illinois, they will have already learned the same curriculum that was taught here.”

Teachers at Central are not the only ones who have been responding positively to the changes. Students have reported having a deeper understanding after taking their math classes. This has especially been seen in geometry regular and honors, where the changes were most significant to the course.

“I thought that [geometry honors] provided an opportunity to think outside the box and use logical thinking in order to problem solve,” said Claire Elman, sophomore.

A result of students learning in this different manner however is sometimes having them show more work to provide evidence that they understand what they did and why they did it.

“The extra work wasn’t a hassle at all for me,” said Kerri Kenney, sophomore.

These students however taking Common Core classes in high school were not initially taught in this manner, since these standards were only implemented in Illinois a few years ago. The way that they were taught the fundamentals of math in elementary school is different than the way it is being taught now.

Complaints from parents of these elementary children can be found on every platform of social media today saying how concepts being taught are too abstract. Despite this, many teachers still advocate for Common Core’s method.

“There will inevitably be gaps [in curriculum] here or there, but I think these standards will get students to think mentally about what they’re doing rather than memorize a process and will result in greater success in years to come,” Mrs. Griffin said.