Monday, June 16, 2014

Kindergarten Math Standards: Common Core versus Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)

Hold on to your cowboy hats and 'Merican flags, patriots; get ready to fight some communism because do I have news for you, Texas. You are implementing most of the Common Core standards. Well, in Kindergarten math anyway. That's the first one I've reviewed so far.
Going through my first set of standards, I was struck by two mutually exclusive things: 
  1. Some of their standards are EXACTLY, as in VERBATIM, like ours. More than some, most of them. I found an exact match or a near match for almost every standard.
  2. But at the same time, little things about them and their overall set up are just different enough. It is like the main difference is that, like a three year old, I DO IT MYSELF! It is like people who would never hire a maid because they are obsessive about how they do it. They are obsessed with their processes. Like that episode of Jon and Kate plus Eight when she kept interviewing and firing maids. All I’m saying is, Texas is like Kate Gosselin.

ANYWAY. I’d say, roughly, Texas is implementing between 70-85 percent of the Common Core standards in Kindergarten math (depending on how your quantify and calculate it). So put that in your crazy pipe and smoke it with your tin foil hat on, C-SCOPE haters. 
What I liked about the Common Core:

How frequently they included examples. (Although sometimes they'd say "e.g." and sometimes they'd say "for example" and I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa. You guys! Come on. Some consistency, please! That kind of thing just would not fly in Texas). But giving examples is HUGE. When you tell a parent or an elementary school teacher (who, btw, is a generalist by certification) to "compose and decompose" a number, or "connect counting to cardinality" that means literally nothing to most of them. I wish the freaking TEKS gave more examples! (ed note: the State Board pulled all those such as examples the teachers had put it right before adopting the standards. I forget why. WEIRD.)

What I didn't like about the Common Core:

It seemed disjointed. The "connect counting to cardinality" actually didn't give an example, which seemed inconsistent with other (actually less jargony) standards that did give examples. I feel like a standard should stand on its own, but examples should be a courtesy. This standard made me think perhaps some groups wrote some strands, other groups wrote other strands (likely) but nobody went back and cleaned it up. They should be consistent and they should consistently use plain, meaningful language and give examples when appropriate.

The clash of the rigor:

The problem with Kindergarten is that, first and foremost, you have kids coming in at ALL levels. On the one hand, a study came out this year saying Kindergarten isn't rigorous enough. You spend too much time counting (ahem, six CC standards) and doing letter recognition. And on the other hand, you have complaints about Kindergarten becoming less and less developmentally appropriate. Play is getting lost in the drive to push literacy skills and testing readiness down to younger and younger grades. Children's development and pedagogical needs often times aren't taken into consideration when standards are created or implemented. So does it matter that the Common Core composes and decomposes numbers up to 20, but the TEKS discusses using math with coins, and asks the kids to create rather than just use charts and graphs? I think the difference in the rigor between these standards is negligible, but I feel like we will start seeing some disparities in the coming grades. {I just wanted to set the stage for all that here before they start to crop up. I guess Im just confused why the TEKS only thinks kindergarteners can count up to ten, but can, with some ambiguous qualifications, write a damn paragraph (see their ELAR Kinder TEKS).}

Too Bossy?

There were a couple CC standards where I thought they were getting all up in the teacher's business. *cough* The counting standards were literally telling the teachers what to say. Tell met that isn't a "how." But these could be interpreted as helpful (research-based even), but a “how” nonetheless. {BTW, why are they so obsessed with counting?!?!}

Break downs of CC Standards below.
Percentages in pink indicates an estimated match with Texas standards.

Common Core: K.CC.A.1 Count to 100 by ones and by tens.   
TEKS: §111.2(b)(5)The student is expected to recite numbers up to at least 100 by ones and tens beginning with any given number.

Common Core: K.CC.A.2 Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
TEKS:  §111.2(b)(2)(F) generate a number that is one more than or one less than another number up to at least 20;
TEKS are like, we will see your counting forward and we will raise you counting backwards, but only by one number. 90%
Common Core: K.CC.A.3 Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).
TEKS: §111.2(b)(2)(B) read, write, and represent whole numbers from 0 to at least 20 with and without objects or pictures;

Common Core: K.CC.B.4 Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
K.CC.B.4.A When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object. K.CC.B.4.B Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted. 
 K.CC.B.4.C Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger. 
TEKS: §111.2(b)(2)(C) count a set of objects up to at least 20 and demonstrate that the last number said tells the number of objects in the set regardless of their arrangement or order
Verdict. CC devoted a lot more student expectations to this stuff, which is weird to me. Because they all basically mean, “understand how to count.” (flashback to Sideways Stories from Wayside School, anyone?) Also confusing: the TEKS actually deleted our “one-to-one correspondence" student expectation in the new version, effective this upcoming school year.” I wish Everly were here. She could explain to me whether that was an intentional deletion and why, or whether it the revision committee thought they were supplanting it with plainer language. Speaking of plain language. Memo to the CC: your kindergarten teachers are certified generalists. Your kindergarten parents are likely not mathematicians either. Nobody knows WTF you mean when you say “connect counting to cardinality.” and “say the names in the standard order” -- as opposed to?? Because of that jargon explosion, I declare the TEKS the winner here. 50%

Common Core: K.CC.B.5 Count to answer "how many?" questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1-20, count out that many objects.
TEKS: §111.2(b)(2)(C) see above
Verdict: CC just said, “regardless of their arrangement or the order”; they are really getting into the minutia for their teachers. That is kind of weird, coming from Texas where we tell teachers what to teach but not how. I know teachers sometimes complain about too many TEKS, but these CC standards seem to be like, the same thing over and over again. And a little bit like, bossy. This is pretty close, but I’m gonna go with the TEKS here; they basically got four CC standards for the price of one. 50%

Common Core: K.CC.C.6 Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.
TEKS: §111.2(b)(2)(G) compare sets of objects up to at least 20 in each set using comparative language
Verdict: CC provides strategies. Interesting. 100%

Common Core: K.CC.C.7 Compare two numbers between 1 and 10 presented as written numerals.
TEKS §111.2(b)(2)(H) use comparative language to describe two numbers up to 20 presented as written numerals;
Verdict: These are so freaking identical, except the TEKS are twice as hard. 50%
Common Core: K.OA.A.1 Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.
TEKS: §111.2(b)(3)(A)  model the action of joining to represent addition and the action of separating to represent subtraction;
Verdict: Close enough. Keep in mind, the Knowledge and Skill statement, which comes before the student expectations in the TEKS requires that the students use the process standards, which involve things like using every day life stuff when solving problems. (the actually use the word “stuff,” isn’t that weird?) 100%
Common Core: K.OA.A.2 Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem.
TEKS: §111.2(b)(3)(B) solve word problems using objects and drawings to find sums up to 10 and differences within 10; 
Verdict: Seriously, are you guys the same thing, or what? I kind of like how the CC uses the “e.g.” I wish the TEKS did that more. You know what? for that I give bonus points to CC. 100%

Common Core: K.OA.A.3 Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).
TEKS: §111.2(b)(2)(I) compose and decompose numbers up to 10 with objects and pictures.
Verdict: Again with the sameness. But still, loving the e.g.’s. 90%

Common Core: K.OA.A.4 For any number from 1 to 9, find the number that makes 10 when added to the given number, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record the answer with a drawing or equation.
TEKS: §111.2(b)(3)(C)  explain the strategies used to solve problems involving adding and subtracting within 10 using spoken words, concrete and pictorial models, and number sentences.

Common Core: K.OA.A.5 Fluently add and subtract within 5.
TEKS: nothing. 
Verdict: The TEKS talk big about mathematical fluency in the introduction, but there’s nothing specific to back it up with in terms of specific student expectations. 0%
Common Core: K.NBT.A.1 Compose and decompose numbers from 11 to 19 into ten ones and some further ones, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each composition or decomposition by a drawing or equation (such as 18 = 10 + 8); understand that these numbers are composed of ten ones and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.
TEKS: §111.2(b)(2)(I) compose and decompose numbers up to 10 with objects and pictures.
Verdict: What? why did they separate this out from K.OA.A.3? I guess the CC beat the TEKS here because they went all the way to 20. 0%

Common Core: K.MD.A.1 Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object
TEKS: §111.2(b)(7)(A) give an example of a measurable attribute of a given object, including length, capacity, and weight; (6)(D) identify attributes of two-dimensional shapes using informal and formal geometric language interchangeably;

Common Core: K.MD.A.2 Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has "more of"/"less of" the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.
TEKS: §111.2(b)(7)(B) compare two objects with a common measurable attribute to see which object has more of/less of the attribute and describe the difference.
Verdict: Squeeze me? Baking soda? Did one of you guys plagiarize? Also, CC, let’s talk about how you went from “e.g.” to “for example.” Do you not have a style guide? 100%
Common Core: K.MD.B.3 Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.
TEKS: §111.2(b)(8)(A) collect, sort, and organize data into two or three categories;
Verdict: We got it. You guys are twinners. 90%

Common Core: K.G.A.1 Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.
TEKS: §111.2(b)(6)(B) recognize shapes in real-life three-dimensional geometric figures or models of three-dimensional geometric figures; and (7)(A) describe one object in relation to another using informal language such as over, under, above, and below; and
Verdict: I’m losing my will to carry on. 100%

Common Core: K.G.A.2 Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.
TEKS: §111.2(b)(6)(C) describe, identify, and compare circles, triangles, rectangles, and squares (a special type of rectangle);
(6)(E)  classify and sort a variety of regular and irregular two- and three-dimensional figures regardless of orientation or size; and
Verdict: name verses classify and sort; shapes versus regular and irregular 2D and 3D figures. 90%

Common Core: K.G.A.3 Identify shapes as two-dimensional (lying in a plane, "flat") or three-dimensional ("solid”).
TEKS: §111.2(b)(8)(C) sort a variety of objects including two- and three-dimensional geometric figures according to their attributes and describe how the objects are sorted.
Verdict: Knowing the difference between 2D and 3D shapes is just implicit in the TEKS. *shrugs* 50%

Common Core: K.G.B.4 Analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes, in different sizes and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, parts (e.g., number of sides and vertices/"corners") and other attributes (e.g., having sides of equal length).
TEKS: §111.2(b)(8)(C) sort a variety of objects including two- and three-dimensional geometric figures according to their attributes and describe how the objects are sorted.

Common Core: K.G.B.5 Model shapes in the world by building shapes from components (e.g., sticks and clay balls) and drawing shapes.
TEKS: §111.2(b)(6)(F)  create two-dimensional shapes using a variety of materials and drawings.
Verdict: CC seems to go for the 3D via their e.g. while the TEKS clearly state 2D. I give points to the TEKS for being written more clearly without the need for an example, but the CC points for going into the 3D and giving examples for clarity.

Common Core: K.G.B.6 Compose simple shapes to form larger shapes. For example, "Can you join these two triangles with full sides touching to make a rectangle?”
TEKS§111.2(b)(6)(A) identify two-dimensional shapes, including circles, triangles, rectangles, and squares as special rectangles;
Verdict: I really love the way the CC provides examples. And their standard definitely beat ours here. 50%

Left over TEKS standards: draw your own conclusions.
(2)(E)  generate a set using concrete and pictorial models that represents a number that is more than, less than, and equal to a given number up to 20;
(4)  Number and operations. The student applies mathematical process standards to identify coins in order to recognize the need for monetary transactions. The student is expected to identify U.S. coins by name, including pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.
(6)(C)  identify two-dimensional components of three-dimensional objects; Really CC? you left this out?
(8)(B)  use data to create real-object and picture graphs; and
(9)(A)  identify ways to earn income;
(9)(B)  differentiate between money received as income and money received as gifts;
(9)(C)  list simple skills required for jobs; and
(9)(D)  distinguish between wants and needs and identify income as a source to meet one's wants and needs.


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