Common Core 101

You might have heard about the “Common Core” or seen the abbreviations “CCSS” being used in conversation and wondered what in the world all the commotion is. Well, here’s what you need to know about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS):

What are educational standards?

Educational standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful by providing clear goals for student learning.

What is the Common Core State Standards Initiative?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt. The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit bearing entry courses in two or four year college programs or enter the workforce. The standards are clear and concise to ensure that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of the expectations in reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics in school.

Who leads the Common Core State Standards Initiative?

The nation’s governors and education commissioners, through their representative organizations the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) led the development of the Common Core State Standards and continue to lead the initiative. Teachers, parents, school administrators and experts from across the country together with state leaders provided input into the development of the standards.

Why is the Common Core State Standards Initiative important?

High standards that are consistent across states provide teachers, parents, and students with a set of clear expectations that are aligned to the expectations in college and careers. The standards promote equity by ensuring all students, no matter where they live, are well prepared with the skills and knowledge necessary to collaborate and compete with their peers in the United States and abroad.. Unlike previous state standards, which were unique to every state in the country, the Common Core State Standards enable collaboration between states on a range of tools and policies, including:

  • the development of textbooks, digital media, and other teaching materials aligned to the standards;
  • and the development and implementation of common comprehensive assessment systems to measure student performance annually that will replace existing state testing systems; and
  • changes needed to help support educators and schools in teaching to the new standards.

 Who was involved in the Common Core State Standards Initiative?

States across the country collaborated with teachers, researchers, and leading experts to design and develop the Common Core State Standards. Each state independently made the decision to adopt the Common Core State Standards, beginning in 2010. The federal government was NOTinvolved in the development of the standards. Local teachers, principals, and superintendents lead the implementation of the Common Core.

What guidance do the Common Core State Standards provide to teachers?

The Common Core State Standards are a clear set of shared goals and expectations for the knowledge and skills students need in English language arts and mathematics at each grade level to ultimately be prepared to graduate college and career ready. The standards establish what students need to learn, but they do not dictate how teachers should teach. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction to the individual needs of the students in their classrooms.

How do the Common Core State Standards compare to previous state standards?

The Common Core State Standards were written by building on the best and highest state standards in existence in the U.S., examining the expectations of other high performing countries around the world, and careful study of the research and literature available on what students need to know and be able to do to be successful in college and careers. No state in the country was asked to lower their expectations for their students in adopting the Common Core. The standards are evidence-based, aligned with college and work expectations, include rigorous content and skills, and are informed by other top performing countries. They were developed in consultation with teachers and parents from across the country so they are also realistic and practical for the classroom.

Will there be tests based on the Common Core State Standards?

Yes. States that adopted the Common Core State Standards are currently collaborating to develop common assessments that will be aligned to the standards and replace existing end of year state assessments. These assessments will be available in the 2014-2015 school year.

What is the appropriate way to cite the Common Core State Standards?

Authors: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers
Title: Common Core State Standards (insert specific content area if you are using only one)
Publisher: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington D.C.
Copyright Date: 2010

Source (more detailed information on the CCSS): Common Core State Standards FAQ page

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