CCSS Brief Overview and Links

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.

The standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs.

  • 46 States have adopted the standards
  • CCSS are for Reading, Writing and Math (Literacy standarts for Science and Social Studies are part of the ELA standards)
  • The standards will be assessed using the PARCC Assessment (2014-2015)
  • The ELA standards emphasize reading informational texts and argument writing
  • The Math standards emphasize fact mastery (accuracy and automaticity) as well as a deep understanding of concepts and application
  • View ELA Standards: http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_ELA%20Standards.pdf
  • View Math Standards: http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_Math%20Standards.pdf
  • View Grade level Writing Samples (Appendix C of ELA standards)http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_C.pdf
  • There is a CCSS App, this free App allows you to view the CCSS quickly by subject, grade and subject category (domain/cluster.) It includes Math K-12 and Language Arts K-12. To find it, simply search "Common Core Standards" ...it was developed by MasteryConnect.
  • Groups of NS teachers participated in a "Study of the Standards" in the Spring of 2011

 

For what it is worth... here are some of my thoughts on the Common Core State Standards:

 

The most talked about, tweeted about, and even ‘facebooked’ topic in public education today is standards, more specifically, the Common Core State Standards that were unveiled and adopted by forty plus states. The Common Core State Standards are a series of expectations grouped by grade level that identifies what students should know and be able to do at the end of each year of their K-12 education. The shift to common standards is epic and will change the face of public education.

The precipitating factors that caused the need to build a set of common standards was the wide array of grade level standards and expectations throughout the country. It was the NCLB Act of 2001 (now referred to as ESSA) that ultimately brought this issue to light. NCLB was designed to hold states, districts, and schools accountable for student achievement. A noble idea, which, although flawed did certainly set the foundation for common, rigorous and sequential standards. With the implementation of NCLB, each year, school districts would be evaluated and given an Adequately Yearly Progress determination. In theory, this accountability process would ‘push’ districts and states to improve student achievement and performance. However, there were unintended consequences to this process. Since there were sanctions given to low performing and low improvement schools it has been suggested that some states lowed the ‘performance’ bar, which led to a better determination. Similarly, the states with the most rigorous standards for student performance were penalized in a way; since their standards were holding students to a ‘high bar’ those states did not fare as well in regards to the accountability determinations. For example, Massachusetts is known throughout the country as a state that has some of the most rigorous standards for student achievement. Various data collected including NEAP assessment data, SAT scores and other standardized assessments shows that Massachusetts’s students routinely outperform their peers in other states. However, states that lowered the bar received a higher NCLB determination and less sanctions. Simply put a Massachusetts third grader who scored below the standard on the state assessment, could quite possibly move to another state and achieve ‘above the standard’ due to the low bar set.

This discrepancy did not go unnoticed. Educators from across the country routinely debated performance levels set by individual states and the need for common, rigorous, sequential standards became a clear necessity.
Many state standards have been described, as “a mile wide and an inch deep” which translates to, our kids are becoming “jack of all trades and master of none.” The Common Core Standards have addressed this and have a clear focus on fewer standards with an emphasis on mastery. The standards have also been developed to build on prior knowledge and extend and refine that knowledge in each sequential grade level. The Common Core State Standards are also more specific giving the individual teacher a clear direction for instructional planning.

As there were unintended consequences with NCLB, it is quite possible there will also be unintended consequences of implementing common standards across the country. Perhaps these consequences will be positive. The common standards will most certainly encourage collaboration among states. Collaboration, discussion, reflection is the foundation to building professional learning communities. Educators across the country will be able to form communities of learning now that the standards are common.

As a district we have much work ahead of us, not only to study the standards and expectations but we will also have to write an aligned K-12 curriculum for Reading, Writing and Mathematics. This will include units of study, scope and sequence,assessments and benchmarks. Developing new curriculum is an extensive and time consuming process. However, when it is all 'said and done' I am confident that our students will benefit from this enoumous initiative for many years to come.

-Clare