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Get Answers: What is the Common Core?

Frequently Asked Questions on Common Core Learning Standards


Photo © Janelle Cox

Many parents and teachers are asking the question, what is the common core? This article is meant to answer that question, along with a few of the most frequently asked questions about the new learning standards that are being implemented across the United States.

What is the New Common Core Standards?

The Common Core State Standards are designed to present a clear understanding of what students are supposed to be learning in school. These standards provide parents and teachers more clarity about what is expected of student learning across America.

Why Do We Need These Standards?

The standards will ensure that all students will have an equal opportunity for an education. Until now, every state had their own standards. This meant that students in the same grade level, from all across the country, would be expected to learn and achieve at different levels. To have common standards among the states, will ensure that students will receive a more consistent education from state to state. Overall this will help prepare students with the skills they need to succeed in college and their career.

Who is Leading the Common Core Standards?

School administrators, teachers and parents from across America is leading the State Standards Initiative. Along with the CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers)and the NGA Center (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.) Across the country these experts are joining to together to develop and implement the common core state standards.

Does This Mean More Standardized Testing?

No. Having a common set of standards among the states will not mean more tests. What it will do is provide states with a better a test. Now each state can pool their resources and come up with a set of high quality tests for all students.

How Will They Impact Teachers?

The Common Core Standards provide teachers with goals to ensure their students will be successful in school and life after. These standards will give teachers the opportunity to have their input on whether or not students are learning according to the standards. Each state will measure how well the standards are working out, and guide educators with strategies that will help meet the students needs.

Impact of the Common Core Standards

Will These Standards Keep Teachers from Deciding on What or How to Teach?

The Common Core State Standards are meant to be a tool to provide teachers with an outline of what their students should know by the end of the school year. Teachers can look at these standards to figure out the skills their students should have, then build their strategies and lessons upon that. Teachers can continue to tailor their instruction based upon their students needs, and local school boards will continue to make decisions about the curriculum.

What are the Key Features of the Standards?

  • The reading standards emphasis on what students read and the skills with which they read.
  • The writing standards focus on many writing skills and types. (Example, plan, revise, edit publish,writing arguments, informational/explanatory texts, and narratives.)
  • The speaking and listening standards requires students to develop and use a wide range of interpersonal and oral communication skills.
  • The language standards expect students to learn the essential "rules" of the written and spoken English language.
  • Technology is integrated throughout the standards and students are expected to learn and use it.
  • The math standards provide students with a solid foundation of math concepts and procedures.

Pros and Cons of Common Core Standards

How Can Parents Help at Home

Parental involvement is key to a child's educational success. Teachers and students are hard at work teaching and learning these important standards. One way to reinforce all that is learned is to get parents involved.

Have parents try these tips at home:

  • Read every night to your child and have them read to you.
  • Practice math facts several times a week to build fact fluency.
  • Practice personal responsibility, have your child be in charge of their homework, books, lunch etc.
  • Have your child keep a personal journal to reflect on what happened that day.
  • Play educational games several days a week to practice skills they learned in school.

Looking for more information? Check out these common core apps.

Source: Corestandards.org

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