The revised 2008 Washington State K–12 Mathematics Standards describe the mathematics content, procedures, applications, and processes that students are expected to learn. These standards may be downloaded from the OSPI website. Visit the OSPI Mathematics page by clicking here.
The standards received an “A” rating in Fordham Institute’s The State of the State Standards—and the Common Core—in 2010. The review of the Washington State K-12 Mathematics Learning Standards can be found by clicking here. Here is the overview and bottom line from that review:
Washington’s standards are easy to read and well organized. They come with extensive explanatory notes and examples. They cover nearly all the essential content with rigor and do an excellent job of limiting and prioritizing the content to be covered. In elementary school, arithmetic is both given priority and developed well. The high school content is generally strong, but a few STEM-ready topics are not included.
GRADE A Clarity and Specificity: 3/3
Content and Rigor: 7/7
Total State Score: 10/10
(Common Core Grade: A-)
The Bottom Line
With some minor differences, Common Core and Washington State both cover the essential content for a rigorous, K-12 mathematics program. That said, Washington’s standards are exceptionally clear and well presented, and are generally more detailed and explicit than Common Core. In particular, they include “Explanatory Comments and Examples” that provide additional context so that the reader knows exactly what students are expected to know and be able to do. In addition, the high school content is organized so the standards dealing with various topics, such as quadratic functions, are grouped together in a mathematically coherent way. The organization of the Common Core is more difficult to navigate, in part because standards on related topics sometimes appear separately rather than together. On the other hand, Common Core excels in the development of fractions, and includes important material on trigonometry that is missing from Washington’s standards.
The revised 2008 Washington State K–12 Mathematics Standards remain in effect until 2013. At that time, districts will need to transition to the Common Core State Standards which have been adopted by Washington State and will replace the current standards.
The History and Development of the Washington 2008 Math Standards
The previous Washington State math standards, Mathematics K–10 Grade Level Expectations: A New Level of Speciﬁcity, were heavily influenced by standards developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). These Washington standards received an “F” rating in Fordham Institute’s The State of State MATH Standards 2005.
In April 2007, the Washington legislature passed 2SHB 1906– Improving Mathematics and Science Education, mandating OSPI revision of WA math standards (with State Board of Education oversight) using Singapore (among others) as exemplar.
After the State Board of Education requested an independent review of the Washington State math standards, in August 2007, Strategic Teaching published Washington State Mathematics Standards Review and Recommendations, which gave WA math standards the lowest possible marks in Depth, Grade-to-Grade Coherence, Measurability, Accessibility and Balance.
Between Sept.-Dec. 2007, OSPI contracts with the Dana Center (DC) at the University of Texas to revise the Washington State math standards. Of the proposals submitted, the Dana Center’s bid was the highest by a considerable margin. The Dana Center’s preliminary draft revisions were widely criticized for failure to meet Strategic Teaching’s report recommendations.
In response to OSPI’s failure to produce acceptable math standards as directed by 2SHB 1906, the legislature passed SB 6534 in March 2008. This bill directed the State Board of Education to retain a national consultant to analyze the February August 2008 OSPI/DV revised math standards draft. The nation consultant was to make specific recommendations for changes needed to finalize the standards. The State Board of Education retained Strategic Teaching to do this work. With the State Board of Education and Strategic Teaching’s oversight of OSPI/DC’s work, the final Washington 2008 K-12 Mathematics Standards were approved and adopted.