What are the Common Core State Standards?
Common Core State Standards
The Common Core State Standards or CCSS are a set of standards that have been initiated by the National Governors Association for Best Practices. They were developed to provide teachers with a more rigorous curriculum that will require teachers to deepen their pedagogical practice and for students to experience learning opportunities that encompass higher order thinking and provides a rigorous educational experience for them.
These standards were created, developed, and reviewed by a team of professionals that included members of the general public, as well as highly trained professionals within the educational field. The intent with this initiative was to create learning objectives that will prepare our young people for college and future careers.
These standards were intended to modify and/or replace current standards that each state currently holds for the educational communities within their state. By participating in the CCSS, states will have a set of standards that are recognized nationally and will better prepare our children for success nationwide.
What the Common Core State Standards Are and Are Not.
The Common Core State Standards are standards that are adopted at the state level. They are a set of standards in mathematics and English Language Arts for grades K-12. They are currently adopted by 45 out of the 50 states. Texas, Alaska, Minnesota, Virginia, and Nebraska have not yet adopted them.
These standards are not a national curriculum. There is no national mandate that forces states to adopt these standards as their curriculum. This is why they are named the State Standards and not national standards. They are not a scripted program in which teachers will teach from. They instead, a set of expectations that are to be taught by teachers through a variety of learning experiences that will highlight the diverse and unique learning needs of each student.
How will the CCSS be assessed?
The CCSS will have a national assessment as of the year 2014-2015. Although most of the states have agreed to adopt the standards, there is much discussion and some disagreement about how to assess these new standards. Due to the differences in thought, there are two groups that have been created from the Common Core State Standards. One is called Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the other is PARCC Assessment. This new assessment will be based on the standards that have been developed for CCSS, but the method of delivery will be slightly different. Visit each website for more information about which assessment your state will be using. Each website also provides updates as to the progress on the development for each test, along with sample test questions and a general guide as to what writers envision the test will look like.
How will CCSS affect my teaching and student learning?
Developers of the new standards not only wanted to create a set of standards that would universally prepare young people for the college and working world, but also wanted to be sure that students are receiving an education that challenges their thinking and provides opportunities to them that will allow them to use logic, reasoning, and critical thinking skills.
As a teacher, you will need to provide your students with meaningful, real world applications in the classroom as well as challenge them to think. The new standards focus on a student centered, teacher guided classroom rather than a teacher driven learning experience. You will still be able to teach creatively and have the freedom to develop lessons that are engaging and interesting for your students. However, it will be imperative that you create opportunities for students to be leaders in their learning and to think critically.