The Common Core is informed by the highest, most effective standards from states across the United States and countries around the world. The standards define the knowledge and skills students should gain throughout their K-12 education in order to graduate high school prepared to succeed in entry-level careers, introductory academic college courses, and workforce training programs.

The standards are:

  1. Research- and evidence-based
  2. Clear, understandable, and consistent
  3. Aligned with college and career expectations
  4. Based on rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills
  5. Built upon the strengths and lessons of current state standards
  6. Informed by other top performing countries in order to prepare all students for success in our global economy and society

Major Shifts in Math

Greater focus on fewer topics

The Common Core calls for greater focus in mathematics. Rather than racing to cover many topics in a mile-wide, inch-deep curriculum, the standards ask math teachers to significantly narrow and deepen the way time and energy are spent in the classroom.

Coherence

Linking topics and thinking across grades

Mathematics is not a list of disconnected topics, tricks, or mnemonics; it is a coherent body of knowledge made up of interconnected concepts. Therefore, the standards are designed around coherent progressions from grade to grade. Learning is carefully connected across grades so that students can build new understanding onto foundations built in previous years.

Rigor

Pursue conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and application with equal intensity

Rigor refers to deep, authentic command of mathematical concepts, not making math harder or introducing topics at earlier grades. To help students meet the standards, educators will need to pursue, with equal intensity, three aspects of rigor in the major work of each grade: conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and application.


Major Shifts in English Language Arts

Regular practice with complex texts and their academic language

Rather than focusing solely on the skills of reading and writing, the ELA/literacy standards highlight the growing complexity of the texts students must read to be ready for the demands of college, career, and life. The standards call for a staircase of increasing complexity so that all students are ready for the demands of college- and career-level reading no later than the end of high school.

Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from texts, both literary and informational

The Common Core emphasizes using evidence from texts to present careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. Rather than asking students questions they can answer solely from their prior knowledge and experience, the standards call for students to answer questions that depend on their having read the texts with care.

Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction

Students must be immersed in information about the world around them if they are to develop the strong general knowledge and vocabulary they need to become successful readers and be prepared for college, career, and life. Informational texts play an important part in building students’ content knowledge. Further, it is vital for students to have extensive opportunities to build knowledge through texts so they can learn independently.


How will the CCSS be Assessed?

Teachers will monitor student progress on the CCSS throughout the school year. This monitoring allows teachers to adjust their instruction to meet students’ needs.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a bipartisan, state-led group developing assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and math.

Have questions about the Smarter Balanced assessments? OSPI has begun a webinar series. The webinars are posted online soon after they occur, along with Q & A documents. Many questions you have may be addressed either in the Q & A or in the webinar itself. You can also go to the OSPI site, where information is updated on a regular basis.  http://www.k12.wa.us/smarter/default.aspx

© Copyright 2010 National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved.

Questions? Contact Liz Ritz, Director of Curriculum, at ritzl@bsd405.org