PUSD bases its core instruction on California State “Standards and Benchmarks” for each academic curriculum, including Mathematics. The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Mathematics Framework and Standards from the California State Board of Education.
A high-quality mathematics program is essential for all students and provides every student with the opportunity to choose among the full range of future career paths. Mathematics, when taught well, is a subject of beauty and elegance, exciting in its logic and coherence. It trains the mind to be analytic – providing the foundation for intelligent and precise thinking.
To compete successfully in the worldwide economy, today’s students must have a high degree of comprehension in mathematics. For too long schools have suffered from the notion that success in mathematics is the province of a talented few. Instead, a new expectation is needed: all students will attain California’s mathematics academic content standards, and many will be inspired to achieve far beyond the minimum standards.
These content standards establish what every student in California can and needs to learn in mathematics. They are comparable to the standards of the most academically demanding nations, including Japan and Singapore – two high-performing countries in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Mathematics is critical for all students, not only those who will have careers that demand advanced mathematical preparation but all citizens who will be living in the twenty-first century. These standards are based on the premise that all students are capable of learning rigorous mathematics and learning it well, and all are capable of learning far more than is currently expected. Proficiency in most of mathematics is not an innate characteristic; it is achieved through persistence, effort, and practice on the part of students and rigorous and effective instruction on the part of teachers. Parents and teachers must provide support and encouragement.
The standards focus on essential content for all students and prepare students for the study of advanced mathematics, science and technical careers, and post secondary study in all content areas. All students are required to grapple with solving problems; develop abstract, analytic thinking skills; learn to deal effectively and comfortably with variables and equations; and use mathematical notation effectively to model situations. The goal in mathematics education is for students to:
- Develop fluency in basic computational skills.
- Develop an understanding of mathematical concepts.
- Become mathematical problem solvers who can recognize and solve routine problems readily and can find ways to reach a solution or goal where no routine path is apparent.
- Communicate precisely about quantities, logical relationships, and unknown values through the use of signs, symbols, models, graphs, and mathematical terms.
- Reason mathematically by gathering data, analyzing evidence, and building arguments to support or refute hypotheses.
- Make connections among mathematical ideas and between mathematics and other disciplines.