Viral Math Problem Reignites Common Core Debate

How would you answer this math problem: 5x3= ____? One third-grade student's answer is reigniting the debate over Common Core standards. 

The student was asked to use the "repeated addition strategy" to solve the math problem 5x3, Business Insider reports.

The student wrote 5+5+5=15, but the teacher marked it wrong. The answer is actually 3+3+3+3+3=15.

Confused? Many others are too.

According to Business Insider, Common Core students are supposed to read 5x3 as "five groups of three," making the student's "three groups of five" incorrect.

The next problem on the student's assignment was marked wrong for the same reason. 

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Common Core standards have provoked the ire of parents for several years. One Iowa woman jokingly called Common Core "Satan's handiwork."

Adopted by 44 states, including Maryland and D.C., Common Core is a set of English and math standards that spell out what students should know and when. The standards for elementary math emphasize that kids should not only be able to solve arithmetic problems using the tried-and-true methods their parents learned, but understand how numbers relate to each other.

Common Core supporters insist the standards are developmentally appropriate and driven by research.

"For years there has been a raging debate in mathematics education about which is more important, procedural fluency or conceptual understanding. The obvious answer is 'both' and the standards give that answer,'' University of Arizona mathematician Bill McCallum said in 2012.

But according to the 2015 Nation's Report Card, math scores slipped for fourth and eighth graders over the last two years.

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