The Common Core State Standards in English/language arts and mathematics provide schools and families with a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.

What are Common Core State Standards?
Developed voluntarily and cooperatively by 48 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia, the Common Core State Standards offer schools, teachers, students and parents clear, understandable and consistent standards in math and English language arts. The Common Core standards define the knowledge and skills students need to be prepared for college and career opportunities. They are internationally competitive and evidence-based. Washington is one of more than 45 states to adopt the Common Core.

While Common Core Standards are not by any measure a radical departure from previous state standards in English/language arts and math, the standards do replace Washington’s previous math, reading and writing learning standards. Common Core Standards do not alter or replace our state’s learning standards in other subjects. What makes the standards a “step forward” is the fact that they emphasize critical thinking and problem solving. The goal of the standards to is to push students to understand content rather than to memorize it.

Who developed the standards?
The Common Core standards were developed by the Council for Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association (the two organizations convened a “representative” group to help write the standards). Although the standards only recently captured national attention, the Common Core standards have been in the works since at least 2008. Many Washington state teachers, parents and administrators played an important role in this process.

Who determines state learning standards?
Each state determines its own learning standards for each subject. In addition to adopting the Common Core for math and English/language arts, Washington has learning standards in other content areas, known as Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and/or Grade-Level Expectations (GLEs). Learning standards are revised every four to six years, with input from educators, parents and community members from around our state.

Why are common standards important?
Having a common set of math and English Language Arts standards across states will result in efficiencies for students, teachers and state budgets. For example, a student moving from one state to another should have a fairly seamless transition because the standards will be the same for both states. Teacher training programs and curricular materials can be developed using the common standards.

When will this happen?
State Superintendent Randy Dorn adopted the Common Core State Standards in July 2011. Since then, OSPI has been working with school district’s around the state to introduce and integrate the standards into instruction. Deer Park has fully engaged in the process of aligning materials, resources, and instructional strategies to the Common Core and will be fully integrated into classrooms in the 2014-15 school year. The knowledge and skills expected by the standards will be assessed in the 2014-15 school year.

 

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