Recent comments by an Illinois school district official seem to suggest it doesn’t matter if students get simple arithmetic wrong under new Common Core standards, but those remarks highlighted in some news reports don’t give the full context.
Several news outlets have seized on remarks made last month by Grayslake, Ill. Community Consolidated School District 46 curriculum coordinator Amanda August in which she said it matters less if students answer 3 x 4 incorrectly as long as they can explain how they arrived at their final answer.
But the 43-second clip of August’s response being highlighted, in which she explains the “different ways” students will be taught to do problems under Common Core, does not show the first part of her answer in which she said students should “come up with the same answer no matter how they do” the problem.
The truncated clip features August’s statement: “But even under the new Common Core if even if they said 3 x 4 was 11, if they were able to explain their reasoning and explain how they came up with their answer, really in words and oral explanations and they showed it in a picture but they just got the final number wrong? We’re more focusing on the how and the why.”
An audience member then asks whether students will be corrected for giving the wrong answer.
“Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. We want our students to compute correctly. But the emphasis is really moving more towards the explanation, and the how, and the why, and can I really talk through the procedures that I went through to get this answer — and not just knowing that it’s 12, but why is it 12? How do I know that?” August replies.
A fuller video of the forum, however, reveals that August said first students should certainly know that 3 x 4 equals 12.
“They are supposed to not only be able to come up with the same answer no matter how they do it but they’re going to have to show, OK I know 3 x 4 numerically is 12, but I can show this in a picture, I can write a real world situation where I show that if I put four apples into three bags that’s going to give me 12 total apples. So they’re going to have to be able to go back and forth between all those different modalities and really show that,” she said.
August did not return a request for comment from TheBlaze.
You can watch the full video of the meeting below: