Mapping standards

Mapping standards is an important task for many educators. A map of the standards is a graphical display that shows connections between different standards. These connections can be either within a grade level or between different grade levels. This map allows teachers to examine more closely the skills and knowledge that students have. The map also helps to identify places where those skills and knowledge are weak. The website Achieve the Core has a well-known Coherence Map that provides these links between standards throughout the K – 8 grade span.

For example, standard 2.NBT.B.5 says:

Fluently add and subtract within 100 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.

Furthermore, standard 2.OA.B.2 says:

Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.2 By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.

Clearly before we try to address having students add and subtract within 100, we should make sure they can add and subtract within 20. The mapping of the standards would demonstrate this as well:


But notice that this also highlights another connection. Standard 2.OA.A.1 talks about using addition and subtraction with 100 to solve various types of word problems. In this case, this standard doesn’t necessarily come before or after the standard about fluently adding and subtracting within 100. For some students that fluency comes from seeing these word problems that require this skill.

Many times teachers may notice that students are having a hard time with a particular standard. Is this because they are struggling with the standard? Or is that they have not yet mastered a foundational standard that is needed.

What about High School?

As a high school teacher for many years, and now as a K – 12 math coach who is actively involved in the Proficiency Based Education process in Maine, this idea of a map of standards between middle school and high school becomes even more important. As high schools work to select their standards/indicators that students must meet for graduation, it becomes important for those discussions between middle and high school teachers to occur addressing the most critical skills students need to be successful in high school.

Unfortunately, the Coherence Map doesn’t generally address the high school standards. If one looks at some 8th grade standards and map them, sometimes it will show a high school standards that follows in sequence. However, this map does not allow one to search for high school standards to see them in the greater context of all standards.

Another site, however, does provide this capability. The UCLA Curtis Center for Math and Teaching has created a standards mapping tool that allows users to focus on a grade level or high school domain area, select a specific standard, and see the standards that are needed for success in the selected standard. This tool can be found here: UCLA Common Core State Standards Mapper.

See the video below for a short tutorial on using this tool. The resolution of this video does not lend itself to easy readability, but it should give you a good idea how to use the tool.


Other resources

It is also important to note that these tools also provide resources that support the standard in question. This makes these standard maps even more valuable. Teachers can quickly find examples of problems that match the standard.


Do you know of any other standards map in mathematics? If so, please post a link in the comment section.