Comparison of Oklahoma’s 2009 Mathematics Standards with Common Core’s Mathematics Standards
2 would significantly improve their quality. No such easy fix exists for the Common Core because its weaknesses are spread throughout the standards
. Furthermore, correcting them is beyond Oklahoma’s
power because their copyright belongs to Washington, D.C., organizations. Consequently, this report recommends that Oklahoma returns to its own mathematics PASS standards and consider their revision over time.
This comparison between Oklahoma’s 2009 Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) in mathematics and
Common Core mathematics was done in response to a request of State Representative Jason Nelson. The purpose is to assist legislators and the public to evaluate whether the replacement of PASS by the
Common Core standards is likely to improve or weaken Oklahoma’s public
education. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute performed a comparison of Common Core and PASS in 2010 as a part
of its “State of the State Standards” project. Unfortunately, Fordham ha
d modified its evaluation criteria at that time, thereby breaking the trend line used by Fordham since 1998. For this comparison I used the original Fordham 2005 evaluation criteria.
The evaluation is based on four rubrics: Clarity, Content, Reason, and Negative Qualities. Each rubric is scored on a scale of 0 to 4 and totaled to a weighted average, with Content double the weight (40%) of the other three rubrics (each 20%). The following description of the rubrics is drawn from the 2005 Fordham report:
refers to the success the document has in achieving its own purpose, i.e., making clear to teachers, test developers, textbooks authors, and parents what the state desires. Clarity refers to more than the prose, however. The clarity grade is the average of three separate sub-categories: 1.
of the language: The words and sentences themselves must be understandable, syntactically unambiguous, and without needless jargon. 2.
of the prescriptions given: What the language says should be mathematically and pedagogically definite, leaving no doubt of what the inner and outer boundaries are, of what is being asked of the student or teacher. 3.
of the lessons as described: The statement or demand, even if understandable and completely defined, might yet ask for results impossible to test in the school environment. We assign a positive value to testability.
, the second criterion, is plain enough in intent. Mainly, it is a matter of what might be called
“subject coverage,” i.e., whether the topics offered and the performance demanded at each level are
sufficient and suitable. To the degree we can determine it from the standards documents, we ask, is the state asking K-12 students to learn the correct skills, in the best order and at the proper speed? For this report, the content score comprises 40 percent of the total grade for any state.
David Klein et al., The State of State MATH Standards, 2005. Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Institute.