Research Commentary: Critiques of the Common Core in Early Math: A Research-Based Response

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  • 1 University of Denver
  • 2 Northwestern University (Professor Emerita)
  • 3 University of Denver

We respond to a call to analyze issues of curriculum standards and to present alternative storylines by addressing criticisms of the Common Core State Standards in early childhood. We describe a storyline from multiple media and evaluate this storyline's criticisms, focusing on the criticism that the standards are developmentally inappropriate. We review research and conclude that the criticism is invalid and may reflect a historical belief in the primacy of development over learning rather than the research record. Misinterpreting or ignoring relevant research has equity consequences because it may particularly harm those children most in need of learning support in learning grade-level mathematics. Fortunately, theory and research illuminate learning trajectories that help all children meet these standards.

Contributor Notes

Douglas H. Clements, Morgridge College of Education, Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy, Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall 154, 1999 East Evans Avenue, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208-1700; Douglas.Clements@du.edu

Karen C. Fuson, Professor Emerita, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University; 290 Old Hill Road, Fallbrook, CA 92028; fuson@northwestern.edu

Julie Sarama, Dept. of Teaching & Learning Sciences, Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall 154, 1999 East Evans Avenue, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208-1700; Julie.Sarama@du.edu

(Corresponding author is Clements Douglas.Clements@du.edu)(Corresponding author is Fuson fuson@northwestern.edu)(Corresponding author is Sarama Julie.Sarama@du.edu)
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education

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