Thesis Title

An Inquiry into the Adoption Process of California Mathematics Standards for First Grade

Graduation Date

Spring 2003

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


This study examines the California mathematics standards for first grade, and the role of teachers in the adoption and implementation process. In December 1997, the California State Board of Education issued new math standards for first grade. While the standards content reflects increased rigor in all areas, it is especially so in the area of computation, as students are required to memorize addition and subtraction facts to twenty, where previously, they were expected to master facts to ten.

The purpose of the study is to examine the process for development of standards at the state level, and subsequent implementation by local school districts. The philosophical, political and pedagogical factors influencing the increased rigor reflected in the standards are discussed. The teacher’s role in the adoption process from the creation of standards to the effect on instructional practice is considered.

Methodology includes a survey of first grade teachers in one school district to determine their knowledge of the process by which standards are adopted, and the methods used in the classroom to implement these standards, and a review of literature to identify the factors influencing standards adoption and change, including the current debate between proponents of more rigorous, assessment driven outcomes versus a more developmental, concept based approach. First grade teachers in one Northern California public school district were sampled.

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