I was sent a link today to a very brief article at PJ Media that included a video. The article’s title caught my attention—Little Girl Destroys Common Core Math in Under 2 Minutes.
Sophia Abelita—Common Core Addition
In the video, Sophia worked the same problem twice. The first way she worked it she used a strategy based on place value. The second and more efficient way she worked the problem she used the standard algorithm for addition. Many students like Sophia, are being taught to do addition using strategies base on place value in second and third grade because that is what is called for in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M). The CCSS-M does require the standard algorithm for addition but it delays that requirement until fourth grade. Until the fourth grade, students are to be taught and use strategies based on place value. The CCSS-M does not specify the strategies that are to be used, only that they are based on place value.
This issue was addressed in a post called Common Core State Standards for Mathematics: Does It Add Up or Down? Part 2. The section from that post has been copied below.
Is the standard algorithm for each operation required in the Common Core State Standards? Yes! The Common Core State Standards does require the standard algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Is the requirement delayed? Yes! But, this is not a good thing.
The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics does delay the requirement for the standard algorithms. During that delay, what is taking place? Well, leading up to the standard algorithm the standards require the use of strategies based on place value. This allows for teaching alternative algorithms that are not efficient. Even though the standard algorithms are based on place value, the standards emphasize strategies based on place value rather than the standard algorithms.
The Where’s the Math? webpage called Standard Algorithms in the Common Core State Standards shows the standards that explicitly require the fluent use of the standard algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. This page also shows the standards that lead to the development of the standard algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It is in many of these standards you will see the required strategies based on place value.
What do strategies based on place value look like? Here are a couple of videos that do a better job showing some of these strategies than I could do explaining them. I encourage you to take the time to watch both videos. Even though both videos were made prior to the CCSS. They show the type of strategies the CCSS encourage and publishers are including in their CCSS aligned programs.