On July 19, 2010, the New York State Board of Regents adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts & literacy as well as for mathematics as new learning standards for all students in New York State. To date, 45 states have adopted similar CCSS. Establishing common education standards throughout the nation ensures that all children---regardless of geography, socioeconomic status, or life history---receive an education that values their potential.
In New York State, the CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so that 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. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.
What do the new standards look like?
(Adapted from EngageNY.com)
Common Core Learning Standards
English Language Arts & Literacy
These standards set requirements not only for English language arts (ELA) but also for literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical subjects. Just as students must learn to read, write, speak, listen, and use language effectively in a variety of content areas, so too must the standards specify the literacy skills and understanding required for college and career readiness in multiple disciplines.
As a natural outgrowth of meeting the charge
to define college and career readiness, the standards also lay out a vision of what it means to be a literate person in the twenty-first century. Indeed, the skills and understandings students are expected to demonstrate have wide applicability outside the classroom or workplace. Students who meet the standards readily undertake the close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding and enjoying complex works of literature. They habitually perform the critical reading necessary to pick carefully through the staggering amount of information available today, both print and digitally. They actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts that builds knowledge, enlarges experience, and broadens worldviews. They reflexively demonstrate the cogent reasoning and use of evidence that is essential to both private deliberation and responsible citizenship in a democratic republic. In short, students who meet the Standards develop the skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation for any creative and purposeful expression in language.
Within Guilderland, students in the upper grades will likely see the most dramatic shift in focus as the curriculum moves towards a greater emphasis on information literacy. Under the new standards, there will be an increased expectation for students to be able to provide text-based responses to questions.
Common Core Learning Standards
These standards define what students should understand and be able to do in their study of math.
But what does mathematical understanding look like? One hallmark of mathematical understanding is the ability to justify, in a way appropriate to the student’s mathematical maturity, why a particular mathematical statement is true or where a mathematical rule comes from. There is a world of difference between a student who can summon a mnemonic device to expand a product such as (a + b)(x + y) and a student who can explain where the mnemonic comes from. The student who can explain the rule understands the mathematics, and may have a better chance to succeed at a less familiar task such as expanding (a + b + c)(x + y). Mathematical understanding and procedural skill are equally important, and both are assessable using mathematical tasks of sufficient richness.
Within Guilderland, students at the elementary level will likely see the most dramatic shift in focus as the curriculum moves from a spiraling approach to a mastery approach. Meaning, students will be expected to develop a deeper conceptual understanding of core content and build upon it from year to year. The district's "Everyday Mathematics" program, as well as several other programs, will be evaluated in the coming months to ensure that they align with the new standards.
When will the new standards be implemented
and when will students be assessed on the new content?
Teams of teachers began meeting in summer 2011 to review and analyze the new standards, and to align the standards to the district's existing curriculum maps. Teachers and administrators have also been attending various trainings to learn how best to implement the new standards in the classroom.
The CCSS will impact all students, K-12, and as such, preparing to implement the program will be quite a challenge. The district is required to be fully operational under the new standards as of September 2012, and students will be assessed by the state on the new standards beginning in the 2012-13 school year.
Links and resources for parents