Implementation of the 2017 Kansas Mathematics Standards is complex and requires many components to be effective in developing mathematics learning for all students. The Instructional Core, by Richard Elmore provides the framework for how to intervene in the instructional process in order to best improve student learning and achievement. Ultimately, the effective implementation of the mathematics standards is demonstrated in improved student learning and achievement, made possible through this framework.
Elmore poses seven principles for improvement of student learning. In principle one, the instructional core, he argues there are only three ways to improve student learning at scale:
- You can raise the level of the content that students are taught. (Content Standards and Curriculum)
- You can increase the skill and knowledge that teachers bring to the teaching of that content. (Content Knowledge and Pedagogy)
- And you can increase the level of students’ active learning of the content. (Expectations and Engagement)
In its simplest terms, the instructional core is composed of the teacher and the student in the presence of content. It is the relationship between the teacher, the student, and the content – not the qualities of any one of them by themselves – that determines the nature of instructional practice, and each corner has its own particular role and resources to bring to the instructional process. Because of this mutually dependent relationship it is impossible to fully implement the 2017 Kansas Mathematics Standards without also examining the role of the teacher and student in this process.