BY: Bill Crawford

When all is said and done and the board votes in December, we will finally have a set of Mississippi-centric college- and career-ready standards that every person in the state has had an opportunity to comment on,” touted state Superintendent of Education Carey Wright.

Not exactly.

The input tool provided by the Mississippi Department of Education works for education experts, but not the general public (www.mississippi.statestandards.com/).

Consider the fifth-grade math standard, “Generate two numerical patterns using two given rules. Identify apparent relationships between corresponding terms. Form ordered pairs consisting of corresponding terms from the two patterns, and graph the ordered pairs on a coordinate plane.” It is a subset of “Analyze patterns and relationships,” which is a subset up “Operations and Algebraic Thinking,” which is one of five topical categories for fifth-grade math standards.

Reviewers can show they agree with the standard, or want to make changes by breaking up or rewriting the standard, or recommending it be moved to another grade level. For any change, reviewers are asked to provide research or rational for their recommendations.

OK, I have a math degree from Millsaps College, a master’s degree in education from Mississippi State University, and experience teaching developmental algebra at Meridian Community College. While this background lets me understand the standard, I have no extant capacity to approve it or recommend changes. The standards fit together like a puzzle. Only by researching the whole puzzle could I learn how this one fits into the intended pedagogy and what the consequences of any change(s) might be.

I may question the level of math thinking now required at the fifth-grade level, but there is no place to register that concern.

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