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Mathematical Content Strands

  • Number sense, properties, and operations
  • This content area focuses on students' understanding of numbers (whole numbers, fractions, decimals, integers, real numbers, and complex numbers), operations, and estimation, and their applications to real-world situations. Students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of numerical relationships as expressed in ratios, proportions, and percents. Students are also expected to understand properties of numbers and operations, generalize from numerical patterns, and verify results.

  • Measurement
  • This content area focuses on an understanding of the process of measurement and on the use of numbers and measures to describe and compare mathematical and real-world objects. Students are asked to identify attributes, select appropriate units and tools, apply measurement concepts, and communicate measurement-related ideas.

  • Geometry and spatial sense
  • This content area extends beyond low-level identification of geometric shapes into transformations and combinations of those shapes. It focuses on informal constructions and demonstrations, along with their justifications. Geometry and spatial sense area includes the demonstration of reasoning within both formal and informal settings. Proportional thinking to similar figures and indirect measurement is an important connection in this area.

  • Data analysis, statistics, and probability
  • This content area focuses on the skills of collecting, organizing, reading, representing, and interpreting data. These are assessed in a variety of contexts to reflect the use of these skills in dealing with information. Students are expected to use statistics and statistical concepts to analyze and communicate interpretations of data. Students are also expected to understand the meaning of basic probability concepts and applications of these concepts in problem-solving and decision-making situations.

  • Algebra and functions
  • This content area extends from work with simple patterns, to basic algebraic concepts, to sophisticated analysis. Students are expected to use algebraic notation and thinking in meaningful contexts to solve mathematical and real-world problems, addressing an increasing understanding of the use of functions as a representational tool. Other topics assessed include using open sentences and equations as representational tools and using the notion of equivalent representations to transform and solve number sentences and equations of increasing complexity.


Last updated 3 October 2003 (JM)

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education