Hayley Little is studying Applied Mathematics: STEM Education. She did the research for the Brock Scholars program, and will graduate with honors in December 2016. This article is a highlight of her Departmental Honors Thesis from Spring 2016.

Common Core in Tennessee:

An analysis of eighth grade mathematics standards


Since their introduction in 2010, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been a highly controversial topic in educational reform. Though the standards are not a product of the federal government and are not federally mandated, they do represent a push towards national academic standards in America. For states such as Tennessee, educational policies of the past pushed them to lower their academic standards in order to create the illusion of success. Those states are now some of the places that have seen the most change with the adoption of the CCSS. It still remains somewhat unclear, however, which changes are a direct result of the CCSS and which are the result of other policy changes. In the future, Tennessee plans to replace the CCSS with new state standards, but the CCSS will continue to influence any future policy changes. Therefore, it is important for educators, as well as the general public, to be educated about the standards and to understand how the standards have helped reform education over the past six years. One of the main goals of this study is to present a cohesive summary of the CCSS’s development process as well as its implementation in Tennessee. The report focuses specifically on the Common Core Grade 8 mathematics standards. A cross-walk document was created in order to directly compare the previously used Tennessee Grade Eight mathematics standards with the Common Core Grade 8 mathematics standards. The results show how well the two sets of standards are aligned and shed some light on the changes brought about by the CCSS.

Comparison of the Tennessee State Standards and the Common Core standards for 8th grade mathematics

One of the slides from Hayley little's DHON presentation

To read the rest of Hayley's Thesis, click here.