Schools, teachers and publishers in over 40 states are busy training and preparing for full implementation of the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards were presented in 2010 and are America’s first attempt to institute federal guidelines on grade level expectations. Before Common Core, some states had created their own sets of standards so that students could move within the state and be assured that they were going to be held accountable for the same academic standards. In other words, if your student lived in the city and was taught multiplication in third grade and you moved in the middle of the year to the country, she would still be taught multiplication and wouldn’t be at risk of being ahead or behind of her peers. Continue reading
Realizing that the American education was limping behind the standards in other developed nations and that it was in dire need of a strong revamp, the Common Core State Standards were introduced in 2008. Since then, the initiative has stirred a flurry of anxiety in the education circles. While common core has come under a firestorm of criticism by many; for some, this move has pinned hopes for the sagging US education standards. With the entire hullabaloo around the subject, a number of myths have emerged. Continue reading
Lesson plans, workbooks, posters, infinite paper work and much more. Sounds like a lot of balls to juggle, huh?
Hey, all you teachers out there – Does the topic of common core state standards (CCSS) send you in a tizzy? Continue reading
Trends in CCSS and how schools are moving towards adopting it
It’s only been a nascent two years for the Common Core State Standards since its inception and implementation by 49 states and territories in the US. A tremendously laudable effort, the CCSS seeks to create a national curriculum across the country and create excellence in education and practical learning for children. However, like any new idea to run its full-course, and successfully so, takes time…the Common Core State Standards is no exception to that rule!
The state schools in the US didn’t follow any synchronised pan-US standard, till now; and to suddenly adopt a new road-map is naturally coming as a challenge. Many teachers for instance, feel unprepared for implementing the Common Core Standards! Even before they begin imparting the knowledge, based on the new guidelines, teachers themselves need to be prepared and well versed with the subjects; and this in itself is taking time. Many states have promised to train students, educators, and parents through this transition, yet few have actually spent the time or money to do so! Therefore, districts looking for early training opportunities have to find ways to create their own programs.
The Common Core goal also stresses on equipping every teacher with the ability to teach any or all subjects, unlike mastery over just one chosen area – this, the think-tanks of the program feel will keep up the standards of excellence among teachers as well.
The Scholastic website reports the following about a survey conducted on Common Core State Standards –
“Twenty-seven percent of teachers surveyed feel somewhat/very unprepared to teach the standards, and only twenty-two percent say they feel very prepared. Among the tools that teachers say they need to effectively implement the Common Core Standards are student-centered technology, formative assessments, and new curricula and learning tools aligned to the Common Core”
The practical challenges notwithstanding, the positives of the program have been applauded by educators and visionaries alike! Hung-Hsi Wu, professor of mathematics at University of California, Berkeley, stressed on the strengths of the new Common Core Standards for Mathematics in the fall 2011 edition of American Educato. If well-implemented, these guidelines, as opposed to current curricula and practices have the potential to revitalize and enrich math instruction and learning, he stressed. A key feature among the recommendations provided in the CCSS, suggests a gradual introduction of concepts to children. This, Prof Hung-His Wu feels, will allow students to understand the principles of what they are learning. Topics become increasingly complex as students reach higher classes; but they all build on the foundations of previously learned concepts, he explained.
An essential aspect of the Common Core is the kind of importance that has been laid on technological training and use of digital tools for education. Social media platforms, apps and digitised resources are being leveraged for imparting today’s classroom education. The success of new technological platforms like the iPad is already known! Exciting, creative apps aligned to the Common Core is now filling stores as well. Check out the Apple online stores for apps like ‘Know your maths facts for free’ from Maths Munchkie; or our very own Splash Math Apps series from Studypad!
Since there is no strict reading list of textbooks mentioned in the guidelines, schools are broadly following the framework suggested by Common Core State Standards while selecting books. The Common Core suggestions in this regard, outline key criteria while making text selections, reading foundations and questions on tasks, and what a child ought to know in each grade level. Such issues as how texts should meet the needs of a wider group of students; or build on concepts and fluency and should have explicit and systematic instructional content are also clearly suggested in the Common Core State Standards manual for publishers and educators.
Whatever the criteria or the expectations set by the Common Core, educators wholeheartedly believe that learning or going to school, will be a whole new experience for today’s generation of children in the US; and will ultimately nurture an extensive knowledge pool like China and India!
Common Core State Standards Initiative – overhauling education in the US
It didn’t come as a surprise when President Obama, in his weekly radio broadcast, last September, made that hard-hitting statement on the country’s education. Pointing at some worrisome statistics on the US school systems, he revealed how children raised in the US are lagging those in other nations in education! Children in the US also trail too many other countries in math, science and reading, he said. (source)
Other pointers say, that as many as a quarter of students here don’t even finish high school. With a high percentage of school and college dropouts, the country, ironically though, known for some of the best academic institutions in the world, has now slipped to a sad 16th spot in the global rank in college completion among young adults! (source)
Alarming data, which forewarn of the economic plight that the US might recede into once again, if it cannot afford to create a knowledge pool of able minds to rebuild its economy.
The Common Core State Initiative, (www.corestandards.org) an effective education policy to promote a national curriculum involving the states, is the best possible answer to this malaise in the US school systems.
A state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the program defines a set of robust and relevant guiding principles to align all states around a ‘common core of standards’ in education; and which will enhance academic and practical skills among children across the country. These standards outline the knowledge and expertise students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school, and succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs.
Developed with steady assistance from teachers, content experts, states, leading thinkers, advisory groups and feedback from citizens concerned with education, the mission came to a successful fruition in June 2010, when it was formally launched. The NGA Center and CCSSO received nearly 10,000 comments on the standards during two public comment periods, which helped build a clear and concise module! The standards, which have also extracted the best from the already existing effective state models and global standards, inform parents, teachers and educators on the appropriate benchmarks for all students regardless of where they live.
Already adopted in 49 states and territories, the modules which promote rigorous content and evidence-based learning, is a rich set of guidelines and references; they do not seek to impose any reading list for the schools, instead, offer maximum flexibility to schools while adopting their particular texts.
Already adopted for maths, English language arts and literature and to be developed in phases for science and other social studies, the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an exemplary program that will equip children in the US to compete successfully in the global economy.