This assignment is a comprehensive discussion of a mathematics curriculum (the pre-kindergarten elementary math’s curriculum which was formulated and taken up by the prekindergarten school) in comparison with the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards is a set of standards ought to be adopted by curriculums within the state. It standardizes the learning and teaching of curriculums like English and Mathematics amongst others. The Common Core State Standards Initiative website gives a comprehensive discussion on the key shifts of both mathematics and English language initiated by the Common Core in order to standardize their learning and teaching. The shifts in English language are regular practice, fostering reading, speaking and writing English language as evidenced by texts and the development of knowledge via content-rich and non-fiction material (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2013).
This paper evaluates the alignment of the pre-kindergarten elementary math’s curriculum with the standards as stipulated in the CCSS. In addition to that, the paper seeks to detect gaps between the curriculum and CCSS. In the process of evaluating the gaps and similarities between these two entities, the assignment gives an overall evaluation of the pre-kindergarten elementary math’s curriculum and the manner in which it amalgamates the standards set by CCSS. This is in relation to the shifts in mathematics as indicated in the CCSS website. They include focus on fewer topics, linking mathematical topics with real life thinking and pursuing students’ conceptual understanding, application of mathematical concepts and fostering procedural skills (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2013).
Evaluation of overall alignment of pre-kindergarten elementary math’s curriculum and CCSS
One of the most noteworthy alignments between the school’s curriculum and CCSS is the conventions of Standard English. It is important to note that learners must be in a position to comprehend the language used in their curriculums. In the case of kindergartens, the language ought to be standard and as simple as possible. The pre-kindergarten elementary math’s curriculum is written in a standard and easily comprehended English language. For instance, the section of number and numeration in the curriculum demonstrates standard usage of English grammar including word capitalization, spelling and punctuations (Olivia & Gordon, 2013). This plays a significant role in not only helping the young learners understand the details of their curriculum but also develop their written and spoken English because they still need the language development. This section of the curriculum also provides proof of vocabulary use thereby conforming to the standards of CCSS and aiding in language development of the young learners as intended by CCSS.
The pre-kindergarten elementary math’s curriculum also takes heed to CCSS’s standards of mathematics in terms of coherence and its logical arrangement of topics. The domains in which the topics in this curriculum are arranged make chronological sense. For example, the Number and Numeration topic comes first before operations and computing, data and chance, measurement and reference frames; all of which require knowledge in counting and comparison of objects an numbers using words like few, less, same and more. This arrangement of topics, therefore, enables the young learners to acquire knowledge in counting before they are able to tackle topics like geometry computation whose starting point is knowledge in counting the numbers (Olivia & Gordon, 2013).
Gaps between the CCSS and the school’s curriculum
I have detected some gaps between the school’s curriculum and the CCSS. For instance, the CCSS indicates that 85% of the total learning time should be allocated to instructional learning while the remaining 15% allocated to carrying out class lesson activities. However, the school’s curriculum assumes that the time available for learning is what the learners need to learn the contents of the curriculum. Additionally, the school’s curriculum does not meet the criteria for a research and evidence-based curriculum as expected by the CCSS. For example, the section for Patterns, Functions and Algebra does not give a distinctive evidence of alignment to international benchmarks to equip learners with the necessary skills to inherit the global economy.
One area of the school’s curriculum that is misaligned to the CCSS
According to the school’s math’s curriculum, time that is available for learning is exactly the time needed for the young learners to learn the content of the syllabus. This is contrary to the standards as stipulated in the CCSS. According to the CCSS, all curriculums should allocate 85% of the learning time to instructional learning. Instructional learning simply means that the teachers or tutors should be able to instruct their students for time amounting to eighty five percent of the total time allocated for learning. However, the pre-kindergarten elementary math’s curriculum does not distinguish between instructional time and activity time. As a result, the curriculum assumes that the time available for learning is the time the learners need to accomplish the learning objectives in the curriculum (Olivia & Gordon, 2013). It is essential that young learners like the ones in kindergartens are allocated strict times for instructions from tutors and writing class assignments as indicated in the CCSS.
An evaluation of my school’s curriculum in relation to its alignment with the Common Core State Standards
My school’s math’s curriculum has a number of factors that portray conformance with the CCSS. For instance, the topics contained in the curriculum are logically arranged in the sense that previous topics equip learners with skills to tackle topics ahead. This implies that each topic does not need an independent introduction to its fundamentals instead, these fundamental are learn in previous topics as independent content. This is because such basics may be instrumental in learning lesson objectives of more than one topic. If not arranged chronologically, a teacher my need to introduce topic basics in each topic thus creating room for unnecessary repetition (Olivia & Gordon, 2013).
My school’s curriculum also uses appropriate tools to effectuate learning as prescribed in the CCSS. For example, the process of learning mathematics involves the use of geometrical instruments that are standardized for all the schools across the state. The curriculum also identifies and makes use of real life structures and scenarios as indicated in the CCSS as a way of vivifying learning of mathematics.
Despite the fact that my school’s mathematics curriculum has complied with quite a number of standards as stipulated in the CCSS, it has also fallen short in some areas. The curriculum ought to be flexible enough to accommodate students’ conceptual understanding. However, it is rigid and does not seem to tolerate students own understanding of concepts. According to the CCSS as indicated in the CCSS website, pursuing students’ conceptual understanding is one of the shifts mathematics curriculums ought to take in order to effectuate their standardization. Nonetheless, my school’s curriculum seems to focus on the set formulae, procedures and methods as opposed to CCSS.
Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2013). Key Shifts in English Language Arts. corestandards.org. Retrieved on 24th March, 2014 from http://www.corestandards.org/other-resources/key-shifts-in-english-language-arts/
Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2013). Key Shifts in Mathematics. corestandards.org. Retrieved on 24th March, 2014 from http://www.corestandards.org/other-resources/key- shifts-in-mathematics/
Olivia P.F. & Gordon, W.R. (2013).Developing the curriculum. Boston, MA: Pearson. Press.