Common Core standards are aimed at building students' critical thinking skills, and 46 states have adopted them. But critics say the methods are unproven and the education reform is moving too fast.
Barbara Colombo/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
In an Algebra I class at Mountain View High School, a freshman girl is struggling with a new assignment: The students are working in small groups to try to find the number of different-shaped tiles needed to cover a certain size tabletop – and then how to find a pattern and extrapolate on that answer for other sizes.
"Is this supposed to be hard or easy?" she asks her teacher in frustration.
"It's supposed to make you think," replies Kristina Smith, the teacher, as she patiently circles through the room, responding to each student's questions not with an answer but with additional questions that encourage them to push themselves to the next step.
What's going on at this school in Loveland, Colo., as well as across the United States, is a key step in a long-running shift to national standards. These Common Core standards, which have been adopted by 45 states, have the potential to drastically change curriculum in elementary, middle, and high schools around the country.
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