This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Views of the Common Core: An Examination of Upper Elementary Mathematics Teachers' Lived Experiences




Granthum, Celeste

Type of Degree



Curriculum and Teaching


This study was conducted to investigate perspectives of upper elementary mathematics teachers on the Alabama College and Career Readiness Standards, the Common Core State Standards for Alabama. Participants in this study were six mathematics teachers from one school in a large school system in Alabama. Two third grade teachers, two fourth grade teachers, one special education teacher, and I, the fifth grade teacher, kept journals for twelve weeks, documenting thoughts and experiences as we taught the standards. One hour-long focus group was also conducted with five participants. Data analyses revealed three themes. The first dealt with teacher attitudes about the standards. Included in this theme was a recognition of the benefits of the universal curriculum, an appreciation of the mathematical practices, a belief that some standards were not developmentally appropriate, the thought that standards presumed all students achieved mastery on initial presentation, and dissatisfaction with standards that prescribed only one way to solve a problem. The second theme dealt with actual implementation of standards. Components of this theme were challenges faced in implementation, factors affecting implementation, and proposed changes to make implementation easier. The final theme dealt with teachers’ perceptions of the impact of the standards on students. Findings indicate that teachers are generally supportive of standards but have misconceptions about them. This study suggests that the district could more effectively assist teachers with implementation by offering greater accessibility and responsiveness to teachers’ concerns. Additionally, reducing other district mandates would allow teachers to more fully focus on implementation.