Common Core Standards Explained

Common Core Standards (info taken from

Authors: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers Title: Common Core State Standards. Publisher: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington D.C. Copyright Date: 2010

  • Set of high-quality standards in mathematics and English Language arts/literacy (ELA)
  • Outlines what a student should know by the end of each grade
  • Ensure students graduated from high school with skills and knowledge to succeed in college and career. All the ELA and Math standards incorporate problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills
  • Adopted by 42 states, D.C, 4 territories and Department of Defense Education Activity
  • Targeted for K-12 grades


Key Shift in English LA

  • Incorporating complex texts with academic language
  • Rather than just solely on reading and writing
  • Want reading comprehension to progress to be ready for college, career, life
  • To prepare for that growing complexity, teach vocabulary in a variety of content areas. Use conversation, instruction, and reading to teach vocabulary
  • Having students answer based on textual evidence: encourages careful reading and analysis of the text, rather than just prior knowledge and experience. This also is transferred into writing: more evidence-based writing
  • Build knowledge through information reading (nonfiction) and literary reading emphasized


Key Shifts in Math

  • Focus on fewer topics, narrow the topics and teach at a deeper level
  • Aimed at helping students build stronger foundations, better procedural skills and be able to apply them outside and inside the classroom
  • Each new grade level is a new extension of previously learned skills: coherence in topics across the grades
  • Apply them to word problems, not as stand-alone topic
  • More rigorous in teaching concepts, increase speed and accuracy in calculation, and application in mathematical situations
  • The sequence of math is important:
    • Mathematical progressions, or sequence of topics, is standardized so that topics move up or down in a consistent grade level sequence. If a student switches district, the teacher will be able to accommodate and pick up from where the student has left off.

Why Common Core?

  • Ensure that education standards are consistent across the states so that teachers, parents, and students are all on the same page
  • Ensure success in college, career, and life
  • Enables collaboration among states on range of tools and policies, such as
    • Textbooks, digital media, and other teaching materials
    • Common comprehensive assessment tests to measure student performance that gives teacher specific feedback
    • Developing ways to help all educators and schools learn about these new standards
  • Developmentally conscious: standards are backed by research and experience educators to incorporate standards that are also developmentally appropriate for children. For example, kindergarten math standards also include play-stating and engaging young children in cognitive activities

What parents should know

  • Standards are built upon the most advanced current thinking to stay competitive with international curriculum models
  • No state is lowering their standards.
  • Common Core are College and Career Ready standards
  • Encouraging children to “exercise” their brains
  • Teachers are being more flexible with teaching approaches
  • Teachers will make sure students are ready on one step before they more on to the next step
  • Changing testing assessment to measure progress, so that educators, parents, and student are all on board

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