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The Common Core State Standards Shifts in Mathematics


Focus strongly where the Standards focus

The Standards call for a greater focus in mathematics. Rather than racing to cover topics in a mile-wide, inch-deep curriculum, the Standards require us to significantly narrow and deepen the way time and energy is spent in the math classroom. We focus deeply on the major work of each grade so that students can gain strong foundations: solid conceptual understanding, a high degree of procedural skill and fluency, and the ability to apply the math they know to solve problems inside and outside the math classroom.

Students should spend the large majority of their time on the major work of the grade (). Supporting work () and, where appropriate, additional work () can engage students in the major work of the grade. Emphases are given at the cluster level. Refer to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics for the specific standards that fall within each cluster.

Where to focus by grade level:
Download All Grades K-8 As a Single PDF
Download All Grades K-HS As Individual PDFs


Coherence: think across grades, and link to major topics within grades

Thinking across grades: The Standards are designed around coherent progressions from grade to grade. Learning is carefully connected across grades so that students can build new understanding onto foundations built in previous years. Each standard is not a new event, but an extension of previous learning.

Linking to major topics: Instead of allowing additional or supporting topics to detract from the focus of the grade, these concepts serve the grade level focus. For example, instead of data displays as an end in themselves, they are an opportunity to do grade-level word problems.


Rigor: in major topics pursue: conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application with equal intensity.

Conceptual understanding: The Standards call for conceptual understanding of key concepts, such as place value and ratios. Students must be able to access concepts from a number of perspectives so that they are able to see math as more than a set of mnemonics or discrete procedures.

Procedural skill and fluency: The Standards call for speed and accuracy in calculation. Students are given opportunities to practice core functions such as single-digit multiplication so that they have access to more complex concepts and procedures.

Application: The Standards call for students to use math flexibly for applications in problem-solving contexts. In content areas outside of math, particularly science, students are given the opportunity to use math to make meaning of and access content.

For a printable version of the CCSS Shifts in Mathematics, click the link below.

Download the Shifts

Supplemental Resources

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Full-text of the K-8 and high school Standards. Interactive version available here.

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Professional Development: Introduction to the Math Shifts

The Introduction to the Math Shifts Module is a 1–4 hour module that provides you with an introduction to the key shifts required by the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM).

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iTunes U Courses, Created by Teachers for Teachers

CCSS for Teachers: The Shifts, is a collection of iTunes U courses designed by classroom teachers in partnership with the CCSSO, that explain the Shifts in ELA / Literacy and mathematics required by the Common Core.

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Making the Shifts

Brief article gives an overview of the shifts required by the Common Core State Standards and how to make them.

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Introductory Videos on the Common Core State Standards

Collection of brief videos introducing the Common Core State Standards.

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