Mathematics, for all students, and that all schools need

Mathematics,
as well as all the academic subject area’s in the state of New Jersey have
experienced multiple changes over the course of the past 21 years. The current high school standards that were
implemented in 2016 are broken down into six main categories: Number and Quantity;
Algebra; Functions; Modeling; Geometry: & Statistics and Probability. These
standards are broken down into numerous subsections that outline the overall concepts
(New Jersey Department of Education, 2016). These important standards are
reviewed every five years to ensure that they are constantly improving, and
that the proper modifications are made to provide the best educational
experience for students. Standards
provide a focus and yardstick to evaluate schooling for all students, and that
all schools need to make children reach them (Educational
Broadcasting Corporation, 2004). By having a specific focus, teachers
can compare all students learning experience, and make the changes necessary to
ensure the standards are ultimately met for their grade level.  Additionally, they establish a concrete
assessment on a statewide level. Gandal (1995) notes, “Every year, one-fifth of students change schools…With clear, common
standards in place, teachers ought to know what their incoming students have
learned.” This is vital in giving students, parents, and teachers the
necessary peace of mind that the same standards will be in place in every NJ
school district. Without establishing the overall standards in NJ, there is no
way to measure how the content is being perceived by the students.

Math Standards Evolution

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Early
Standards Adoption

Academic learning
standards in NJ were first adopted in 1996, and were entitled, Core

Curriculum Content
Standards. These basic standards prepared students for all 13 years (K-12) of
their educational experience. The
Mathematic standards were created to establish one vital goal according to the
New Jersey Mathematics Curriculum Framework (NJMCF). The NJMCF stated this goal
as, enabling all NJ students to make the shift into the 21st century
with math skills, understandings, and attitudes that will assist students in
being successful not only in their daily lives but in their careers (Caldwell,
Crown, & Rosenstein, 1996). This
first set of academic standards laid the foundation for NJ to keep improving
upon the learning experience, and gave students the ability to showcase the
skills needed to succeed in college and life in the real world.  Without originally adopting the standards in
1996, the continued and necessary changes would not be made to elevate the
learning experience in classrooms today.

Standards
get Stronger

The Mathematical
Standards were evaluated again in 2001, and in 2004 a new set of academic
standards were adopted by NJ. The 2004
New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards (NJCCCS), help start to give a
level of specificity and depth of mathematic content that will prepare students
to complete work in post-secondary schooling and in employment afterwards (New
Jersey Department of Education, 2004). It is stressed that all schools must
have the common goal of every student achieving the academic standards set
forth, and unlike the base framework that was laid out in 1996, the 2004
standards were more specific to the exact standards to be expected by students
as well as professional development of teachers. The NJCCCS also gave the
ability to local school districts to tailor math curriculum taught to make sure
students are achieving the goals set in the updated standards. The 2004 NJCCCS
also showcased a major change to the academic standards based reform based on
the adoption of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), which reauthorized
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The NCLB started to help students by giving funds to NJ schools to help
achieve proficiency in the set state standards, and makes sure that students
are receiving an education from qualified educators (New Jersey Department of
Education, 2004). Additionally, assessments helped ensure NJ (as well as
all states) were held accountable, and developed stimulating content standards
that all students could achieve. The updated standards from 2004 also condense
the broad version from 1996, so the assessments given to students can be based
on the more condensed content requirements outlined.

Core
Curriculum Gets Implemented

As per state
requirements, the mathematic academic standards were again evaluated in 2009.
This evaluation produced, and implemented in 2010, the Common Core State
Standards (CCSS). According to Powers (2013), These developed, and more uniformed math standards were put into place
to be more detailed and thorough than even before. There has never been any
type of change that has included uniform standards being adopted by multiple
state, and the CCSS represented the most noteworthy and extensive education
reform in public schools. The CCSS focuses more on teaching fewer topics in
a school year to gain a deeper understanding of all the areas covered. This
will in turn give students a very solid foundation that can be used inside the
classroom, and in real world environments. Moreover, the CCSS also helped in giving coherence of topics from grade to grade.
Each new year students will be able to build upon a math concept that was
introduced previously, and will be an extension of previous years of learning (National
Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School
Officers, 2010). This strategy will help students to become critical thinkers
and reinforce topics covered, and give students the ability to apply their
knowledge to grade specific material. The CCSS also considered technology, and
has incorporated media skills into the standards since it has impacted our
society over the past decade. Lastly, all states using the CCSS adopted one of
the two assessments, which in NJ was the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC).

What
we Have Today

Most recently the NJ
Mathematic academic standards were reviewed and revised in 2015 (due to Chris
Christie), only a year after the scheduled and state mandated review. These
standards were adopted in 2016, and are being used currently in the 2017-2018
school year. There were no major changes
to the standards overall. Most of the modifications were to the wording of a
specific standard to clarify, or moving a specific item to a different grade
level. Additionally, a new name was established for the set of standards, New Jersey Student Learning Standards. These
standards use the CCSS as a base, but NJ added specific expectations and concentrations
(Adam, 2016) In conclusion, New Jersey Mathematic State Standards have
evolved from the original foundation laid in 1996. With the help of teachers,
administrators, and state education leaders, students are being kept to a high
level to ensure that they are ready to accomplish goals inside and outside of
the classroom environment. The CCSS are a specific set of goals, and help
students understand not only content material, but assist them in critical
thinking. Modifications to the NJ Standards will always be an ongoing process,
and will keep being improved and amended to the needs of all students across
the state. 

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