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Excellence + equity: how California’s new math framework is trading tradition for transformation


How math is taught in California’s schools is set for a major change—and it’s coming soon. 

The catalyst for this change was the recent approval of the 2023 Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools. According to the State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond, the goal of the new framework is to “provide both teachers and students with a path to greater excellence and greater equity”. 

With its new guidelines and approaches for implementing instruction, the framework is designed to help educators improve math outcomes for all students.

A long (and controversial) road

California was overdue for a revised approach, with almost a decade having passed since the last framework, but disagreements over its contents slowed down the process.

Over the course of four years, the framework went through multiple review processes after public forums and suggested revisions. The debate brought longstanding arguments to the fore about teaching methodology, the sequencing of courses, and the role social justice plays in mathematics education.

With almost 6 million students in California’s K-12 public schools, we expect other states’ education departments will be keeping a close eye on how California’s framework and adoption unfolds. Share on X

With the framework’s approval, now comes the even greater task of its successful implementation into California’s schools.  

And California is no stranger to challenges when it comes to math education. While the US ranks below the average on international tests of math achievement, California’s scores are even lower than the national average. Like other states, California experienced declines over the last five years on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth and eighth grade math assessments. 

The teaching of mathematics clearly needs an overhaul in California and beyond.

The framework’s core ideas

Central to this new framework is the belief that every student can achieve and be successful in math, emphasizing equity and access. Culturally responsible instruction should draw from students’ strengths and foster a growth mindset.

The framework encourages publishers to structure content around significant mathematical concepts, referred to as “big ideas.” These standards should be explored within the context of learning progressions across grade levels. Research supports that students learn best when they see how major concepts interconnect and relate to real-world scenarios.

Encouraging proficiency in data science is a major focus. Highlighting the use of open, authentic, multidimensional tasks, the framework promotes learning mathematical ideas through various representations, not just numbers, including words, visuals, models, tables, and graphs. 

Technology promises to offer more options for delivering high-quality, framework-aligned instruction across all grade levels.

Timeline for the 2023 Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools

If you’re a provider of math learning products and you’re affected by the 2023 Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools, here are the important dates to be aware of:

  • February 2025: Deadline for publishers or developers to submit their intent to participate in the adoption based on the new framework.
  • April 2025: Program samples must be available for the reviewer training week.
  • May 2025: Complete instructional programs are due.
  • September 2025: The Instructional Quality Commission will make their program adoption recommendations to the State Board.

Once the state’s approved list has been decided, it’ll be locked in until California’s next textbook adoption. While we don’t know how long it’ll be until the approved list is next updated, we do know that it’s been about 10 years since the last one—so math learning products may not get another chance to be added for another decade.

While the US ranks below the average on international tests of math achievement, California's scores are even lower than the national average. Share on X

How to accelerate framework alignment

To align with the framework. learning products may need to revamp their assessment capabilities in a small window of time—and this is where Learnosity can help. With Learnosity APIs, you can start authoring in one hour, create a proof-of-concept in one week, and go live in 3-5 months.

Built over 700,000+ developer hours (and counting), our advanced assessment engine can expand your learning platform’s capabilities to fit California’s new math framework, boost student engagement, and improve learning outcomes. 

The Learnosity assessment engine gives you:

  • A breadth of question types that support UDL by giving learners multiple means of expression, such as interactive classification and matching, free response text, audio, as well as visual formats like image-based, drawing, graphing, and video.
  • Autoscoring for open-ended math questions. Powered by a sophisticated scoring engine, Learnosity Math gives authors full control over scoring behavior, so it can be as flexible or restrictive as necessary. This approach ensures that students aren’t penalized for solving problems in different ways and allows them to receive immediate feedback while practicing their skills.
  • Advanced analytics tools, enabled by autoscoring, allowing teachers to easily identify learning gaps so they can fine-tune teaching strategies to meet precise student needs.
  • Robust accessibility features—including accessible math, screen reader support, keyboard navigation, color contrast, and more—ensuring that all learners get equal access to assessments.
  • Comprehensive internationalization and localization capabilities for faster, easier translation of user interfaces. Our pre-built language bundles are available in 17 languages—such as Spanish, Arabic, and Japanese—which include several non-alphabetic and right to left writing systems that require special characters.
  • Embeddable digital interactives, including simple or scientific calculators, rulers, protractors, an image tool, and a math editor, to deliver richer math assessments.
  • Streamlined content management for learning standard alignment. With our tagging capabilities, authors can categorize questions by specific standards more easily, retrieve content more quickly, and organize programs more effectively.

AI and the future of math learning

AI will reshape every industry, including learning. Learnosity is embracing this game-changing tech, which is why we’re currently deep in development of an entire roadmap of AI-enriched assessment solutions.

Here’s how our AI solutions will help future-proof learning platforms and align with the 2023 Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools.

  • High-quality math content generation: Authors can create high-quality math content more quickly, complete with hints and worked solutions.
  • Simplified multi-step math: Students can enter multi-lined solutions and receive step-by-step feedback, replacing complexity with clarity.
  • Frictionless, multimodal math input: Give learners a more flexible way of working through multi-step math by offering multiple input modes, including scanned, handwritten and photographed from paper, or digitally inputted via tablet.
  • Improved item bank quality and diversity: Using Item Bank Health Check, you can analyze entire item banks for diversity, equity, and inclusion problems, then use suggested fixes to rapidly resolve those problems, so your items can meet the social content standards outlined by California.

Check out our recent webinar, presented by Learnosity CEO Gavin Cooney and CPO Neil McGough, for an in-depth look at our AI-assisted math experiences.

Learnosity AI in assessment webinar

Tap into a network of innovators

If your platform’s needs go beyond Learnosity’s expertise, a member of our Partner Ecosystem might be able to help. We’ve integrated with a community of like-minded companies offering specialized STEM tools, which enables our customers to extend functionality with ease. 

See a list below of the STEM technology providers in our Partner Ecosystem and what they can add to your learning experience:

  • Brainingcamp lets you integrate digital manipulatives such as number lines, ten frames, regrouping animations, and factor tracks.
  • Tuva enables your learners to explore, manipulate, and visualize real-world data.
  • GeoGebra offers a full range of math tools, such as a graphing calculator, geometry tool, and 3D graphing, as well as a math-specific note feature for free-form answers.
  • Desmos provides advanced calculators and graphing questions to help authors quickly create engaging content and give learners a better user experience.

A sign of things to come?

With almost 6 million students in California’s K-12 public schools, we expect other states’ education departments will be keeping a close eye on how California’s framework and adoption unfolds. 

Both Texas and Florida are planning for math adoptions in the next few years, so similar themes may appear in the evaluation criteria of those states’ instructional material adoptions. 

STEM is only becoming more important. If California’s new math framework proves successful, more states will likely follow its lead.

Can Learnosity help your platform get ready for California’s new math framework? To learn more, email 

Feature image courtesy of Kenny Eliason/Unsplash.

Kathleen Hake, PhD

STEM Product Manager

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