Around the country, many educators and parents are concerned about the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Thus far, 44 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) have voluntarily adopted and implemented the Common Core.
What are the Common Core State Standards?
The Common Core State Standards are a clear set of academic standards in math and English language arts/literacy for grades K-12. Emphasizing problem-solving skills rather than rote learning, the Common Core defines the knowledge and skills students need to be prepared for entry-level careers, introductory courses at two-year and four-year colleges, and workforce training programs after graduating from high school.
What is the Goal of the Common Core?
The aim of the Common Core is to ensure that students graduate from high school with the skills needed for college, career, and adult life, regardless of where they live in the US.
Why Were the Common Core State Standards Developed?
The Common Core came about because our nation’s students have fallen behind their peers around the world and are performing poorly on standardized tests in comparison. Prior to the Common Core, academic standards varied widely from state to state and authorities recognized the need for developing consistent learning goals across different states.
Who Developed the Standards?
In 2009, state school chiefs in the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and governors in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) coordinated an effort to develop the Common Core Standards. Teachers, administrators, and other experts also provided their input regarding the development of the standards.
What Data Was Used to Develop the Common Core?
The Common Core Standards are based on a growing body of evidence that includes scholarly research, surveys on the skills required of students entering college and workforce training programs, comparisons to standards in high-performing states and nations, and assessment data identifying college- and career-ready performance, among other factors.
Why Are There Only Standards for English and Math?
The Common Core Standards were only developed for English language arts and math, because those are the subjects that build the skills students use to learn other subjects. Students must learn how to read, write, speak, listen, and use language effectively in order to succeed in multiple disciplines.
How Will the Common Core Affect Teachers?
Although the standards establish what students need to learn at each grade level, they do not dictate how teachers should teach. Teachers actually have some flexibility when working with these standards.
Teachers are responsible for developing their own curriculum and lesson plans, as well as tailoring their instruction based on the needs of each student in their classrooms. Many teachers are still becoming familiar with the instructional skills needed to teach the Common Core, but the new standards give them the ability to measure students’ progress throughout the school year, and ensure that they are on the path to success.
Moving Forward With the Common Core Standards Initiative
Surveys have shown that Americans are skeptical about the Common Core, but only time will tell how this initiative will impact learning outcomes across the country. If you are interested in learning more about the Common Core Standards Initiative and what students are expected to learn at each grade level, you can visit the official website to get more information.