4th Grade Math BEST Standards
What can fourth grade teachers expect from the new Florida BEST Standards for math? How do they compare to the MAFS standards? What are fourth grade students now expected to learn?
Set your mind at ease, because I am going to break down the new fourth grade Math BEST standards. In this post, I will quickly analyze the changes and how they will affect your classroom.
How are the BEST Standards organized?
In fourth grade, Math BEST standards are divided into 7 subcategories, while the MAFS had 6:
- Number Sense and Operations – Previously Numbers and Operations in Base 10
- Data Analysis and Probability – These standards were split into their own category. They were previously in Measurement and Data.
- Algebraic Reasoning – Was Operations and Algebraic Thinking
- Geometric Reasoning – Previously Geometry
- Fractions – In MAFS, these standards were called Numbers & Operations: Fractions.
- Mathematical Practice – This is now called Mathematical Thinking and Reasoning. These are the global standards students are expected to use throughout their school career.
Honestly, there are not many major changes to the math standards. A lot of the updates feel like changes in wording more than an actual change in concepts taught. Fourth grade does add a few new skills, and a few others are slightly altered.
For ease of organization, I am going to discuss the new standards by subcategory.
Mathematical Thinking & Reasoning
These standards are the overarching skills students are meant to improve throughout their math classes.
The word precision was changed to fluency (MA.K12.MTR.3.1 – Complete tasks with mathematical fluency.)
The big changes are in what was removed:
- “Create models with mathematics.”
- “Select and use appropriate mathematical tools strategically.”
More discussion on these two things later. These two standards seem to tie into many of the standards that either had their wording changed or were omitted in BEST.
Number Sense and Operations
This subcategory has very few changes, and nothing really “new” – the new standards were most likely taught as part of the instructional unit under MAFS.
The key concepts in this subcategory are place value, multiplication, and decimals. The place value standards are basically the same as before. Multiplication has expanded to include numbers through 12s (instead of stopping with 10s.) The expectation of fluency with multiplication facts moved up to fourth grade from third.
The new and notable changes in this section are:
- 4.NSO.2.2 – Multiply two whole numbers, up to three digits by up to two digits, with procedural reliability. The old multiplication standards had two digits by two digits and one digit by up to four digits. BEST includes two digit by two digit as well as this new standard.
- 4.NSO.2.4 – Represent remainders as fractional parts of the divisor.
- 4.NSO.2.5 – Explore the multiplication and division of multi-digit whole numbers using estimation, rounding, and place value.
- 4.NSO.2.6 – Identify the number that is one-tenth more, one-tenth less, one-hundredth more, and one-hundredth less than a given number.
- 4.NSO.2.7 – Explore the addition and subtraction of multi-digit numbers with decimals to the hundredths.
This subcategory also largely remains the same. No new standards – the concepts are basically the same with slightly different wording.
Things to note:
- “Multistep problems” was removed – it is now just “real world problems.”
- Factor pairs are now up to 144, not 100, as multiplication fact expectations now go to 12s instead of 10s.
Measurement standards have a lot of changes. The Measurement and Data category has been split into multiple subcategories, so the changes will be discussed under the new corresponding sections.
For measurement, my takeaway is the standards are now more general than they had been. Basically, BEST says students should be able to select and use appropriate tools for measurement and to convert within a single system of measurement.
- The types of measurement students are to learn has increased. In addition to meters, pounds, liters, and time, students are to learn yards, feet, inches, gallons, quarts, pints and cups.
- Money word problems are now only to use addition and subtraction. (I believe these problems only used those operations under MAFS, but the standard was written with more detail. Students have not learned to multiply and divide decimals yet.)
Data Analysis and Probability
These standards had been in a subcategory with Measurement in MAFS.
The big change here is the addition of mode, median, and range, which had been a sixth-grade standard.
Also, MAFS only mentioned line plots, but BEST standards include line plots, tables, and stem-and-leaf plots.
Overall, fractions standards have stayed the same. The one new standard is:
MA.4.FR.1.3 – Describe how the numerator and denominator are affected when the equivalent fraction is created.
More standards were removed, but, in reality, it is more of a change in wording than what would be taught or not taught. The BEST standards no longer mention using benchmark fractions as a comparison.
Geometry is the one subcategory that seems to have major changes. Fourth-grade teachers need to be aware that line of symmetry and perimeter were added to second- and third-grade standards. Those changes affect the fourth-grade standards.
The BEST standards now focus on angles and perimeter and area of rectangles. Classifying two-dimensional shapes is no longer in the standards, as it was moved to third grade.
New concepts are:
- 4.GR.1.2 – Estimate angle measures.
- 4.GR.1.2 – Write an equation to represent the unknown angle.
In addition to those changes, third-grade geometry has added (formerly fourth-grade) standards on describing, drawing, and identifying lines, line segments, rays, intersecting lines, perpendicular lines, and parallel lines, as well as identifying and drawing lines of symmetry.
Having more subcategories is just a change – not better or worse. Teachers will get used to them.
Outside of some skill additions, the standards did not change very much. Unlike previous grades, it seemed like the changes made the standards more specific, although the concepts taught aren’t necessarily changed.
Fourth grade really did not see a lot of changes in concepts. The big changes to note are:
- Students are expected to learn multiplication acts through 12s.
- Measurement did change which measurements students will use.
- 2D figures have moved to third-grade.
- The other big change to fourth grade is the addition of mode, median, and range.
Geometry seems to be moving standards down a grade level. Many skills moved from fourth to third, and I noticed movement in these standards in other grades, too.
One of my critiques is that the BEST standards removed some of the specific building blocks that help students understand the thinking and learn the vocabulary they will need in future grades, such as understanding the distributive property and understanding fraction comparisons need to be on the same whole.
The Benchmark Clarifications are one of my big critiques of the BEST standards, but there are not as many in fourth grade as in other grades. While I appreciate having the standards clarified, there are so many of these clarifications attached to different standards. It is a headache for teachers to have to constantly refer to a document to see all the clarifications.
The reason these subpoints are necessary is the condensing of multiple MAFS standards into one BEST standard. While having fewer standards may be convenient, it is not easier to manage fewer standards if they have multiple addendums. Some of the clarifications are obvious, but teachers will have to pay close attention to others.
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