Overview: The Common Core State Standards


What are the Common Core State Standards?
The Common Core State Standards are an internationally benchmarked set of standards that seek to provide 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 serve as a blueprint for teaching and 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. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.
[Adapted From Common Core State Standards Initiative website: http://www.corestandards.org.]
Why the Move To the Common Core?
• College and Career Readiness is the new national norm.
• Workplace reading, measured by lexiles (reading level system), exceeds grade twelve complexity significantly (Stenner, Koons, & Swartz),
• The demands that college, careers, and citizenship place on readers have either held steady or increased over the last 50 years.
• Students in college are expected to read complex texts with substantially greater independence than are students in
typical K-12 programs. (Erickson & Strommer, 1991; Pritchard, Wilson, & Yammitz, 2007)
• K-12 texts have actually trended downward in difficulty in the last half century (Chall, Conard, & Harris, 1977)
• Forty-eight states have adopted the CCSS and are participating in two assessment consortiums to create new state
assessments for 2014-2015
(From Supplementary Materials, Greater Boston Readiness Center Common Core Advisor)

How Are the Common Core Standards Incorporated Into the New MA Frameworks?
The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts & Literacy and Mathematics build on the
Common Core State Standards. Each state was allowed to determine and include unique standards, in addition to
adopting all of the Common Core Standards. Massachusetts added 15% in additional standards to the Common Core,
resulting in the current Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts & Literacy and Mathematics.
The Natick Public Schools have been aligning to the standards in the past two school years.

Common Core Content Overviews
5 Facts About The Common Core
1. Massachusetts educators played a significant role in the development of the Common Core State Standards.
Massachusetts curriculum experts and educators reviewed and submitted revisions to drafts of the new standards throughout the development process to ensure that the expectations met or exceeded our state’s already strong standards.
2. The Common Core State Standards are not a state-mandated curriculum – they are a blueprint for what students should know and be able to do.
The standards define what all students are expected to know and be able to do, not how teachers should teach. While the standards focus on what is most essential, they do not describe all that can or should be taught. A great deal is left to the discretion of teachers and district curriculum developers. In Massachusetts, local school districts make curricular decisions and choose which textbooks or programs to purchase and use.
3. Massachusetts educators have been incorporating the new learning standards into their curricula and classrooms over the past three years.

The state has helped educators implement the standards by developing online resources and tools such as curriculum maps, curriculum units, and lesson plans. As was the case for previous updates of the Commonwealth’s standards, the Common Core State Standards require new curriculum, new instructional methods, new materials, and extensive professional development.

4. Massachusetts students will continue to study literature.
Literature is a major part of the English language arts standards and Massachusetts augmented these further by adding its own list of recommended authors from the Commonwealth’s prior ELA standards. The extensive list includes writers such as Mark Twain, Herman Melville and Langston Hughes.
5. Math in even the early years is designed to prepare students for algebra.
Students will focus on fewer math topics each year so that they have time to master each and build toward algebra. Students will be asked to memorize math facts and to explain in writing how they solve math problems. The standards include what students will need to know to take algebra 1 in the eighth or ninth grade and a more rigorous sequence of math courses in high school.
To Learn More
National Parent-Teacher Association Parents’ Guides to Student Success: http://www.pta.org/4446.htm
Common Core State Standards Initiative: http://www.corestandards.org/
Massachusetts Common Core Standards Initiative page with links to 2011 Curriculum
Frameworks for English Language Arts & Literacy and Mathematics: http://www.doe.mass.edu/candi/commoncore/
Portions Adapted from a publication in the Acton Public Schools


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