There's a Common Core math assignment that's confusing parents more than the kids it is testing. An image — posted in Oct. 2015 — of a worksheet asking students to "use the repeated addition method" to solve 5 x 3. The student wrote 5 + 5 + 5 = 15 and was marked wrong. The teacher corrected it, saying the answer is 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 15, meaning five groups of three. So even though the student came up with the correct answer, and showed his or her work, points are deducted.
A second question on the worksheet asks students to calculate 4 x 6 using an array. This time the student drew an array with six rows and four columns showing that the answer is 24. But the teacher marked it wrong, saying the array should have been drawn with four rows and six columns to come the answer of 24. Again, points were deducted.
So what's going on here? Parents of today's generation of elementary school students were raised on a different math. We memorized multiplication tables and didn't transform multiplication problems into addition. Common Core math is designed to help children do more math in their heads, breaking down problems into "friendly" numbers that will help them. But do semantics like this really matter? The child has arrived at the correct number and even showcased his or her work thoroughly. Should they really be marked wrong for such an answer?
I don't know about you, but I find myself throwing up my hands in frustration over such issues on a nightly basis. Do you think this answer should have been marked wrong?
This post was originally published on Oct. 27, 2015.