The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is conducting a review of the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. Several groups including NYSUT and Superintendents are asking for our feedback on the current standards.
Since I am a 5th grade teacher I have reviewed each 5th grade standard and made comments on the what should be changed. I will be forwarding my feedback to the appropriate groups. I am also posting them here as a way to memorialize my feedback. Hopefully this will lead others to do the same as proof that we tried to work within the system.
Our particular comments must be made public. We have no assurances from NYSED that all comments will be read. Therefore let’s use a little grassroots activism to post our specific objections to each and every standard.
Suggested changes to 5th grade ELA and Math Standard
Reading Standards for Literature K–5
2- Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
( not age appropriate very subjective)
3-Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
( poor example leads to misinterpretation of the standard)
6-Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described. a. Recognize and describe how an author’s background and culture affect his or her perspective.
(Not age appropriate- student lack necessary schema)
7- Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).
(Not appropriate—who decides what beauty is? )
9- Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.
(redundant and leads to misinterpretation of the standard)
Responding to Literature
- Recognize, interpret, and make connections in narratives, poetry, and drama, to other texts, ideas, cultural perspectives, eras, personal events, and situations. a. Self-select text to develop personal preferences regarding favorite authors. b. Use established criteria to categorize, select texts and assess to make informed judgments about the quality of the pieces.
( Too subjective. Students lack schema to judge quality)
Reading Standards for Informational Text K–5
- Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
(quickly and efficiently are too subjective -leads to misinterpretation of the standard )
10-By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 4–5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
(high end? Should be in the grade band)
Writing Standards K–5
- Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.) a. Produce text (print or nonprint) that explores a variety of cultures and perspectives.
(Not age appropriate)
6- With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.
(How long is a sitting? Too subjective- leads to misinterpretation of the standard)
- Create and present an original poem, narrative, play, art work, or literary critique in response to a particular author or theme studied in class. a. Recognize and illustrate social, historical, and cultural features in the presentation of literary texts.
(Students lack schema- leads to misinterpretation of the standard)
Speaking and Listening Standards K–5
1-Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. a. Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion. b. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles. c. Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others. d. Review the key ideas expressed and draw conclusions in light of information and knowledge gained from the discussions. e. Seek to understand and communicate with individuals from different perspectives and cultural backgrounds. f. Use their experience and their knowledge of language and logic, as well as culture, to think analytically, address problems creatively, and advocate persuasively
( not age appropriate- students lack schema)
Language Standards K–5
3-Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening. a. Expand, combine, and reduce sentences for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style. b. Compare and contrast the varieties of English (e.g., dialects, registers) used in stories, dramas, or poems.
(To what extent? Not age appropriate, students lack schema)
Number & Operations in Base Ten 5.NBT
- Find whole-number quotients of whole numbers with up to four-digit dividends and two-digit divisors, using strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and/or the relationship between multiplication and division. Illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.
(Strike “and”– area models are not mathematically sound in all situations- leads to misinterpretation of the standard)
- Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.
(Strike ‘and” and replace with or- )
Number & Operations—Fractions 5.NF
- Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole, including cases of unlike denominators, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. Use benchmark fractions and number sense of fractions to estimate mentally and assess the reasonableness of answers. For example, recognize an incorrect result 2/5 + 1/2 = 3/7, by observing that 3/7 < 1/2.
(the entire concept of reasonableness is too subjective.. using visual fraction models as an example leads to a misinterpretation of the standard)
- Interpret a fraction as division of the numerator by the denominator (a/b = a ÷ b). Solve word problems involving division of whole numbers leading to answers in the form of fractions or mixed numbers, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. For example, interpret 3/4 as the result of dividing 3 by 4, noting that 3/4 multiplied by 4 equals 3, and that when 3 wholes are shared equally among 4 people each person has a share of size 3/4. If 9 people want to share a 50-pound sack of rice equally by weight, how many pounds of rice should each person get? Between what two whole numbers does your answer lie?
( examples shown lead to misinterpretation of the standard)
- Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction or whole number by a fraction. a. Interpret the product (a/b) × q as a parts of a partition of q into b equal parts; equivalently, as the result of a sequence of operations a × q ÷ b. For example, use a visual fraction model to show (2/3) × 4 = 8/3, and create a story context for this equation. Do the same with (2/3) × (4/5) = 8/15. (In general, (a/b) × (c/d) = ac/bd.) b. Find the area of a rectangle with fractional side lengths by tiling it with unit squares of the appropriate unit fraction side lengths, and show that the area is the same as would be found by multiplying the side lengths. Multiply fractional side lengths to find areas of rectangles, and represent fraction products as rectangular areas
( Not age appropriate, children often lack fine motor skills to perform the rectangle task above, and examples shown lead to misinterpretation of the standard)
- Interpret multiplication as scaling (resizing), by: a. Comparing the size of a product to the size of one factor on the basis of the size of the other factor, without performing the indicated multiplication. b. Explaining why multiplying a given number by a fraction greater than 1 results in a product greater than the given number (recognizing multiplication by whole numbers greater than 1 as a familiar case); explaining why multiplying a given number by a fraction less than 1 results in a product smaller than the given number; and relating the principle of fraction equivalence a/b = (n × a)/(n × b) to the effect of multiplying a/b by 1
( not age appropriate, should be in an upper grade)
- Solve real world problems involving multiplication of fractions and mixed numbers, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem.
(Overreach – telling how to solve is a curriculum not a standard)
- Apply and extend previous understandings of division to divide unit fractions by whole numbers and whole numbers by unit fractions.1 a. Interpret division of a unit fraction by a non-zero whole number, and compute such quotients. For example, create a story context for (1/3) ÷ 4, and use a visual fraction model to show the quotient. Use the relationship between multiplication and division to explain that (1/3) ÷ 4 = 1/12 because (1/12) × 4 = 1/3. b. Interpret division of a whole number by a unit fraction, and compute such quotients. For example, create a story context for 4 ÷ (1/5), and use a visual fraction model to show the quotient. Use the relationship between multiplication and division to explain that 4 ÷ (1/5) = 20 because 20 × (1/5) = 4. c. Solve real world problems involving division of unit fractions by non-zero whole numbers and division of whole numbers by unit fractions, e.g., by using visual fraction models and equations to represent the problem. For example, how much chocolate will each person get if 3 people share 1/2 lb of chocolate equally? How many 1/3-cup servings are in 2 cups of raisins?
(visual models should be a strategy than MAY be used not must be used)
Measurement & Data 5.MD
- Relate volume to the operations of multiplication and addition and solve real world and mathematical problems involving volume. a. Find the volume of a right rectangular prism with whole-number side lengths by packing it with unit cubes, and show that the volume is the same as would be found by multiplying the edge lengths, equivalently by multiplying the height by the area of the base. Represent threefold whole-number products as volumes, e.g., to represent the associative property of multiplication. b. Apply the formulas V = l × w × h and V = b × h for rectangular prisms to find volumes of right rectangular prisms with whole-number edge lengths in the context of solving real world and mathematical problems. c. Recognize volume as additive. Find volumes of solid figures composed of two non-overlapping right rectangular prisms by adding the volumes of the non-overlapping parts, applying this technique to solve real world problems
( V=bxh is misleading.. it should be V=lxwxh in the first example lower case b represents the area of the base when finding the area of a triangle A=1/2bh it confuses the student and is not needed)