Math Page-Standards and Objectives

Illinois Learning Standards


MathematicsGirl at blackboard

The Illinois Learning Standards for Mathematics were developed by Illinois teachers for Illinois schools. These goals, standards and benchmarks are an outgrowth of the 1985 Illinois State Goals for Learning influenced by the latest thinking in school mathematics. This includes the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics; ideas underlying recent local and national curriculum projects; results of state, national, and international assessment findings; and the work and experiences of Illinois school districts and teachers.

Mathematics is a language we use to identify, describe and investigate the patterns and challenges of everyday living. It helps us to understand the events that have occurred and to predict and prepare for events to come so that we can more fully understand our world and more successfully live in it.

Mathematics encompasses arithmetic, measurement, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, probability and other fields. It deals with numbers, quantities, shapes and data, as well as numerical relationships and operations. Confronting, understanding and solving problems is at the heart of mathematics. Mathematics is much more than a collection of concepts and skills; it is a way of approaching new challenges through investigating, reasoning, visualizing and problem solving with the goal of communicating the relationships observed and problems solved to others.

All students in Illinois schools need to have the opportunity to engage in learning experiences that foster mastery of these goals and standards. Knowledge of mathematics and the ability to apply math skills to solve problems can be an empowering force for all students—both while in school and later in their lives.

Students reaching these goals and standards will have an understanding of how numbers are used and represented. They will be able to use basic operations (addition, subtraction, mulitiplication, division) to both solve everyday problems and confront more involved calculations in algebraic and statistical settings. They will be able to read, write, visualize and talk about ways in which mathematical problems can be solved in both theoretical and practical situations. They will be able to communicate relationships in geometric and statistical settings through drawings and graphs.

These skills will provide all Illinois students with a solid foundation for success in the workplace, a basis for continued learning about mathematics, and a foundation for confronting problem situations arising throughout their lives.

Applications of Learning

Through Applications of Learning, students demonstrate and deepen their understanding of basic knowledge and skills. These applied learning skills cross academic disciplines and reinforce the important learning of the disciplines. The ability to use these skills will greatly influence students' success in school, in the workplace and in the community.

Solving Problems

Recognize and investigate problems; formulate and propose solutions supported by reason and evidence.

The solving of problems is at the heart of "doing mathematics." When people are called on to apply their knowledge of numbers, symbols, operations, measurement, algebraic approaches, geometric concepts and relationships, and data analysis, mathematics' power emerges. Sometimes problems appear well structured, almost like textbook exercises, and simply require the application of an algorithm or the interpretation of a relationship. Other times, particularly in occupational settings, the problems are non-routine and require some imagination and careful reasoning to solve.

Students must have experience with a wide variety of problem-solving methods and opportunities for solving a wide range of problems. The ability to link the problem-solving methods learned in mathematics with a knowledge of objects and concepts from other academic areas is a fundamental survival skill for life.


Express and interpret information and ideas.

Everyone must be able to read and write technical material to be competitive in the modern workplace. Mathematics provides students with opportunities to grow in the ability to read, write and talk about situations involving numbers, variables, equations, figures and graphs. The ability to shift between verbal, graphical, numerical and symbolic modes of representing a problem helps people formulate, understand, solve and communicate technical information.

Students must have opportunities in mathematics classes to confront problems requiring them to translate between representations, both within mathematics and between mathematics and other areas; to communicate findings both orally and in writing; and to develop displays illustrating the relationships they have observed or constructed.

Using Technology

Use appropriate instruments, electronic equipment, computers and networks to access information, process ideas and communicate results.

Technology provides a means to carry out operations with speed and accuracy; to display, store and retrieve information and results; and to explore and extend knowledge. The technology of paper and pencil is appropriate in many mathematical situations. In many other situations, calculators or computers are required to find answers or create images. Specialized technology may be required to make measurements, determine results or create images.

Students must be able to use the technology of calculators and computers including spreadsheets, dynamical geometry systems, computer algebra systems, and data analysis and graphing software to represent information, form conjectures, solve problems and communicate results.

Working on Teams

Learn and contribute productively as individuals and as members of groups.

The use of mathematics outside the classroom requires sharing expertise as well as applying individual knowledge and skills. Working in teams allows students to share ideas, to develop and coordinate group approaches to problems, and to share and learn from each other in communicating findings. Students must have opportunities to develop the skills and processes provided by team problem-solving experiences to be prepared to function as members of society and productive participants in the workforce.

Making Connections

Recognize and apply connections of important information and ideas within and among learning areas.

Mathematics is used extensively in business; the life, natural and physical sciences; the social sciences; and in the fine arts. Medicine, architecture, engineering, the industrial arts and a multitude of occupations are also dependent on mathematics. Mathematics offers necessary tools and ways of thinking to unite the concepts, relationships and procedures common to these areas. Mathematics provides a language for expressing ideas across disciplines, while, at the same time, providing connections linking number and operation, measurement, geometry, data and algebra within mathematics itself.

Students must have experiences which require them to make such connections among mathematics and other disciplines. They will then see the power and utility that mathematics brings to expressing, understanding and solving problems in diverse settings beyond the classroom.