The Common Core Standards are new standardized guidelines which call for reading and math to be taught in a different manner from how they were taught in the past – more deeply and with an eye for what is needed for today’s students to succeed both in college and in our global economy. Connecticut is one of the 45 states that has adopted the Common Core Standards, which was done in the summer of 2010. According to the Common Core State Standards Initiative: “The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit bearing entry courses in two or four year college programs or enter the workforce. The standards are clear and concise to ensure that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of the expectations in reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics in school.”
Key Points in English
The Reading goals are:
- To establish increasing levels of complexity, as well as increasing comprehension. So that students advancing through the grades are able to gain more from whatever they read.
- To diversify the reading material (to include classic and contemporary literature and informational texts). However, the Standards will not offer a strict reading list, rather they will suggest representative texts to help guide teachers.
- To advance the ability to write logical arguments and conduct efficient research, since a written analysis and presentation of findings is often critical to future success.
Speaking and Listening Goals:
- To gain, evaluate, and present increasingly complex information, ideas, and evidence through listening and speaking as well as through media. This includes academic discussion in one-on-one, small-group, and whole-class settings.
- To grow student vocabularies through a mix of conversations, direct instruction, and reading.
Key Points in Mathematics
- K-5 standards: to provide a solid foundation in whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, negative numbers, and geometry. The stated goal of the standards is to “stress not only procedural skill but also conceptual understanding, to make sure students are learning and absorbing the critical information they need to succeed at higher levels – rather than the current practices by which many students learn enough to get by on the next test, but forget it shortly thereafter, only to review again the following year.”
- Middle School Standards: includes hands-on geometry, algebra and probability and statistics. To be fully prepared for high school mathematics.
- High School Standards: To practice applying mathematical ways of thinking to real world issues and challenges; to prepare students to think and reason mathematically, and to emphasize mathematical modeling for more real world applications.
Roll out is currently delayed, as there are several groups opposed to the present incarnation of the Standards – including the Connecticut Education Association (which represents 43,000 teachers) and a faction of state lawmakers. The only certain fact is that the Common Core Standards (in their current incarnation) will NOT be in effect for 2014-2015 school year. But, at some point in the near future, they will be operational. We will keep our Fairfield County, Connecticut students appraised of all new developments related to the Common Core.