Society

Confusion Over Common Core Standards As 'Technically Correct' Answers Are Marked Wrong

| by Reve Fisher

Primary school Common Core mathematics problems and solutions have gone viral.

A problem about estimation from a third-grade math test reads: "Carole read 28 pages of a book on Monday and 103 pages on Tuesday. Is 75 pages a reasonable answer for how many more pages Carole read on Tuesday than on Monday. Explain your answer."

The student replied, "Yes, 75 is a reasonable answer because 103 - 28 = 75."

Reportedly, the child received one point off, with the comment, "Estimate 100 - 30 = 70."

Her mother posted a picture of her answer to Facebook. "In order for the answer to be REASONABLE, my daughter needs to estimate and come up with the WRONG answer?!?!"

"So we 'estimate' instead of being 'CORRECT,'" a man asked. "Sounds to me like we're LOWERING the bar!!"

On Reddit, a similar discussion developed over the repeated addition strategy. The question reads: "Use the repeated addition strategy to solve: 5 x 3."

The student wrote 15, and "5 + 5 + 5," but the teacher wanted, "3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3."

"If that's true, I'd be having a talk with my kid’s teacher," a user said.

Tech Insider spoke with Frank Noschese, a high school math and physics teacher, to understand the reasoning behind these methods.

For the estimation question, Noschese explained that although the answer is technically correct, the teacher probably wanted an answer that included rounding instead of an exact calculation.

"These questions make for poor paper and pencil questions because we want the kids to do the estimating in their heads," Noschese said. "They're more suited for discussion in class."

Regarding the repeated addition question, Noschese explained that the students probably had been taught a specific method to use during class.

"If the teacher specifically said. '5x3 means five groups of three and 4x6 means four groups of six' these answers are wrong because of the teacher's forced interpretation," Noschese explained. "But mathematically, what the kid did is also valid. Kids likely know that five groups of three is equal to three groups of five."

According to Business Insider, Common Core defenders believe this method will be useful when students do more advanced math.

But in the meantime, parents are not happy about it.