It is likely many of you have heard the words Common Core in recent conversations......on the school bleachers, at a PTA meetings, or in a local coffee shops. It is also likely that you don’t know very much about what this means or how the standards will impact your child’s classes, curriculum, or instruction.
This article will give you a quick introduction to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and provide you some resource links for further information.
The CCSS were adopted nationally by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers and adopted in July 2010 by the Connecticut State Board of Education. Forty-seven States in the US have similarly adopted the CCSS.
The rationale for CCSS was multifaceted, including 1) to prepare US students for college, 2) to prepare the next generation of workers, and 3) to remain competitive with other countries where similar standards have led to academic excellence.
The good news is that much of the CCSS was already contained in Connecticut’s State educational standards. The not-so-good news is, however, that there will still be disruptions to the status quo in both curriculum and assessments.
It is important to remember that CCSS creates grade-level skill requirements, not specific curriculum. For instance, it does not mean every 2nd grade classroom in America will be on the same page of the same textbook on the same day. Each school district will be free to select its own curriculum/textbooks and teachers will have the latitude and creativity to instruct in their own ways, as long as the key grade-level building blocks are met.
CCSS standards fall into two broad categories; English Language Arts and Mathematics. In general, CCSS teach less skills per year, but each skill is taught to a deeper, conceptual level. This ensures material can be cumulative from year to year and that re-teaching of skills is kept to a minimum. For instance, using Math as an example, Integer manipulation is taught to a mastery level early on as it is a prerequisite to Fractions and Fractions are taught to mastery as a key building block to a successful understanding of Algebra.
In Connecticut, integration of CCSS is very much a work in progress. During the 2012-2013 school year, in many school districts, the implementation of CCSS has begun for selected grades. In addition, preparation for the new CCSS-based assessments is also beginning. Next school year, the curriculum should be fully in place. The mandate is to have CCSS fully adopted into Connecticut schools for the 2014-2015 school year. Fully adopted means that the new, year-end assessments will be based on the CCSS standards. These new assessments will replace the CMT and CAPT assessments currently being used.
For more information on the CCSS in Connecticut, you should visit;
CCSS in Connecticut
CCSS English Language Art Standards
CCSS Mathematics Standards
Frequently Asked Questions about CCSS