What are the Common Core Standards?
Academic standards are intended to provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students, kindergarten through grade twelve, are expected to know at the close of each school year. The new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are designed to be relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers in our ever-changing world.
Why the Change?
The United States education systems have not kept pace with the rapid rate and nature of global change. Therefore, we needed to develop a more rigorous, research-based set of standards designed to prepare every student for success in college and the workforce. The standards are internationally benchmarked to ensure that all of our students, regardless of income level, ethnicity or zip code, are able to compete with students around the globe.
So What’s Really New?
The CCSS are designed to build higher-order thinking, spark curiosity, encourage exploration and help students make relevant, real-world connections.
The standards do not dictate the curriculum or what is taught in the classroom, but rather what students need to master at what stage in their education. Teachers will choose what materials they think will help their students master critical skills – primarily problem-solving and communication skills. In addition, there will be an increased emphasis on using technology purposefully throughout the educational process.
How will My Student be Assessed?
Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, California public school students will be taking new CCSS-aligned assessments developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (smarterbalanced.org). These will replace the STAR tests. Test scores will most likely go down for all students because these standards require a deeper understanding of the content and the ability to apply it than the standards currently in place. This dip is normal and expected when new assessments are implemented.
How can I Help My Student Succeed?
Visit our resource corner for links to in-depth information on CCSS. siliconvalleycf.org/common-core. Encourage your school to offer workshops for parents at every grade level and to prepare a toolkit to explain how things will be different at each grade level. Create a study group with other families, community members and school staff.
Ask how your school will teach differently under the new standards and ask for a way for you to provide feedback. Talk with others outside the school about CCSS and the need for high goals and clear expectations for our children’s education. Talk with your student about the importance of graduation from high school ready for college and career success.
How were the Standards Developed?
The CCSS effort was launched in 2009 through a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association working together with parents, teachers, school administrators and other experts from across the country. Research, evidence and standards from each of the states and many countries recognized for high quality education informed their development. In August of 2010, the California State Board of Education adopted the CCSS. To date 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted them.