Overview of the California Revised Mathematics Framework

Overview of the California Revised Mathematics Framework

August 23, 2023

Key Highlights of the Revised Framework and What This Means for Adoption

This is the first blog in a new series about the revised California Mathematics Framework that was adopted in July 2023. 

Big news was announced while schools were out in July 2023 — after four years of work, including thousands of public comments and multiple revisions, the California State Board of Education (SBE) approved the revised California Mathematics Framework. While its final approval is a huge milestone for math instructional guidance for the state, diving into the nearly thousand-page document to understand how this affects you and your work can be daunting. CalCurriculum is here to support you as you step into navigating what’s next and what this means for you and your district or charter network.

What is the Mathematics Framework, and why does it matter?

A recent EdWeek article offered a great way to understand the role of the Framework: 

“Think about a road trip: If standards are the destination—the end goal of what the state wants students to know and to be able to do—a framework is like driving directions. It offers suggestions for how to get students where they need to go.”

The “driving directions” share instructional guidance for California schools and districts on what instruction should look like in order to support implementation of the California Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CA CCSSM). It also provides criteria for evaluating K-8 instructional materials in order to align with the revised Framework. These guidelines communicate to publishers the benchmarks programs will need to meet in order to make it onto the state’s next approved list. 

What Are the Key Highlights of the Revised Framework?

The revised Framework makes a few important updates in order to achieve higher and more equitable achievement in math for students across the state:

  • Big Ideas: The revised Framework works to integrate the standards around key “Big Ideas,” rather than teaching them in isolation. This encourages thinking about the connections between standards both within and across grade levels, which builds off of work done across the last decade to more deeply understand the standards, such as Achieve the Core’s Coherence Map.
  • Emphasis on Inquiry-Based Instruction: In relation to the integration of teaching standards around the “Big Ideas,” the revised Framework also emphasizes inquiry-based instruction, suggesting students and teachers should be spending the majority of their time on mathematical investigations that build authentic connections to the real world and students’ lives. 
  • A Focus on Equity: Chapter 2 focuses specifically on “Teaching for Equity and Engagement,” and details strategies to promote equitable instruction and outcomes. The Revised Framework specifically prioritizes ways to ensure all students can “see themselves as mathematically capable individuals whose curiosity and love of mathematics learning will be sustained throughout their schooling.” 
  • More Supports for Multilingual Learners: Chapter 2 also details more best practices and supports for multilingual learners, including using an asset-based approach, supporting home language, developing students’ academic language and building in more discourse opportunities, and integrating the English Language Development standards throughout math instruction. 
  • Pathway Updates: While the final approved Framework suggests that schools offer Algebra starting in 9th grade, it allows for district autonomy to determine whether some students may be ready to accelerate this course in middle school. The Framework no longer suggests a separate data science high school pathway, and instead includes guidance for integrating data science instruction across the grade levels. The Framework also notes that the high school course can be an option as a third-year course, leaving schools and districts the opportunity to decide on a variety of pathways. 
  • Adoption Guidance Remains Similar: While Chapter 13 of the revised Framework is very similar to the adoption guidance in Chapter 12 of the prior Framework, the main substantive change in this section was to reorganize materials based on Big Ideas, as mentioned earlier as a priority throughout the Framework. 

What Does This Mean for Any Upcoming Adoption Processes?

Now that the Framework has been approved, it’s anticipated that the SBE will release the subsequent schedule of significant events later this year or in early 2024. After that, publishers will submit materials to the SBE for state list  consideration. This means the list of state-adopted programs will likely not be released until 2025 at the earliest.

Knowing that we have the updated Framework guidance now and the new state-adopted list may still be at least two years away, you may be wondering: Do we have to wait two more years before we can move forward with adopting up-to-date, high-quality instructional materials?

The short answer is: No, you don’t have to wait. As we’ve shared in our prior blogs, California districts and charter networks have the option of adopting early and off-list, which means you can adopt instructional materials that are not on the state-approved list of approved instructional materials. And the good news is, many publishers have already been making changes that are aligned with the vision detailed in the updated Framework. There are great materials that reflect this guidance that are available now. You can also reach out to publishers you are considering and discuss any planned changes they may be implementing based on the newly released Framework.

If your team is ready to begin an adoption process for math instructional materials now, CalCurriculum has further guidance for you here

The next blog in our series will dive deeper into the revised Framework’s focus on equity and supports for multilingual learners and why this matters.