What Are Common Core Standards
And How Do They Apply to Your Child?

Currently, each state has a separate set of education standards which are lists of skills that students are expected to accomplish by the time they graduate from each grade.

In order to prepare students for college and careers, education leaders in 48 states, along with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), have written a set of educational standards that American students must meet. They are called
common core state standards and were released in 2010. New York State is one of the states that has implemented the common core standards.

Here is what you should know about them and how you can help your child prepare for the common core:

The Common Core Standards are State-Driven

  • The common core state standards are a set of learning skills that all American students should achieve.  It is not a federal curriculum. They set the benchmarks and guidelines for what each student should learn, not how or what teachers teach. 

The Standards are a Progression

  • In general, the standards set a progression of skills that students learn as they move through school. Kindergarteners work on phonics and letter sounds, while eighth graders work on building vocabulary and reading fluency. 

Students will Delve Deeper into Core Concepts

  • One complaint about separate state standards was the concern from teachers that students were learning about too many topics in a year to fully understand them, says Carrie Phillip, CCSSO program director of common core standards implementation. The common core state standards, on the other hand, focus on the most important topics that students need to know. In math, that means that students focus on really understanding numbers in elementary school before they start to apply that understanding of numbers to data in middle school. 

The Reading Standards will Get More Difficult

  • As the common core is implemented, students will be expected to read more difficult text sooner and discuss what they read at a more complex level. For example, instead of pulling out individual text elements, such as characters, plot, and setting, students will be reading or listening to various stories, and will compare stories using their understanding of text elements. 

Focus on Informational Text

  • To prepare students for college-level work, there will be more of a focus on informational and expository text. In middle school especially, students will be reading informational text, including original documents, from the Declaration of Independence to presidential speeches.

     

   Helpful Definitions:

     Informational Text: any type of nonfiction that gives the reader information (facts) about a particular subject.

      Expository Text: The main purpose of expository text is to inform or describe.  Authors who write expository texts research the topic to gain information.  The information is organized in a logical and interesting manner using various expository text structures.  The most common expository text structures include description, listing, sequence, comparison and contrast, cause and effect and problem and solution.


Assessments Will Change
 

  • Compared to current and past achievement tests, common core assessments will likely be more difficult. Ideally, instead of multiple choice tests, students will be analyzing and synthesizing information, writing essay responses, and answering in-depth questions to show how much they understand.

     

   Helpful definition: 

Synthesizing information is closely connected to determining importance.  After a reader identifies what is important in the text, he/she must go through the process of organizing, recalling, and recreating the information and fitting it in with what is already known. The reader then summarizes what has happened and gives their response personal meaning. 


Focus on Practical Skills

  • The common core standards were designed with the workplace in mind. So, students will be working on taking the role of scientists, historians, researchers, and more. For example, Bill McCallum, co-author of the standards and professor at the University of Arizona, said that the standards “describe what mathematical practitioners do, how they make sense of problems, persevere and solve them, and then critique the reasoning of others.” 


As the common core state standards continue to be implemented in our schools, there will be some changes, but many things will stay the same. The most important aspect is, as always, to stay in contact with your child’s teacher to find out how you can support this latest educational advancement at home.

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