The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. ABC Private Tutoring understands the Common Core principals and how to teach them to their students (http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards/frequently-asked-questions/).

What is the Common Core?
State education chiefs and governors in 48 states came together to develop the Common Core, a set of clear college- and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Today, 43 states have voluntarily adopted and are working to implement the standards, which are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to take credit bearing introductory courses in two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.

Why are the Common Core State Standards important?
High standards that are consistent across states provide teachers, parents, and students with a set of clear expectations to ensure that all students have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life upon graduation from high school, regardless of where they live. These standards are aligned to the expectations of colleges, workforce training programs, and employers. The standards promote equity by ensuring all students are well prepared to collaborate and compete with their peers in the United States and abroad. Unlike previous state standards, which varied widely from state to state, the Common Core enables collaboration among states on a range of tools and policies, including:

  • Development of textbooks, digital media, and other teaching materials
    Development and implementation of common comprehensive assessment systems that replace existing state testing systems in order to measure student performance annually and provide teachers with specific feedback to help ensure students are on the path to success
    Development of tools and other supports to help educators and schools ensure all students are able to learn the new standards

Do the Common Core State Standards incorporate both content and skills?
Yes. In English language arts, the standards require certain critical content for all students, including:

  • Classic myths and stories from around the world
    America’s founding documents
    Foundational American literature
    Shakespeare

The remaining crucial decisions about what content should be taught are made at the state and local levels. In addition to content coverage, the Common Core State Standards require that students systematically acquire knowledge in literature and other disciplines through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. In mathematics, the standards lay a solid foundation in:

  • Whole numbers
    Addition
    Subtraction
    Multiplication
    Division
    Fractions
    Decimals

Taken together, these elements support a student’s ability to learn and apply more demanding math concepts and procedures. The middle school and high school standards call on students to practice applying mathematical ways of thinking to real-world issues and challenges. Across the English language arts and mathematics standards, skills critical to each content area are emphasized. In particular, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and critical-thinking skills are interwoven into the standards.

What types of texts are recommended for the English language arts standards?
The Common Core State Standards require certain critical content for all students. In addition to content coverage, the standards require that students systematically acquire knowledge in literature and other disciplines through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. English teachers will still teach their students the literature and literary nonfiction texts that they choose. However, because college and career readiness overwhelmingly focuses on complex texts outside of literature, these standards also ensure students are being prepared to read, write, and research across the curriculum, including in history and science.

Why is the sequence of key math topics in the math standards important?
The mathematical progressions, or sequencing of topics, presented in the Common Core State Standards are coherent and based on evidence. Part of the problem with having many different sets of state standards was that different states covered different topics at different grade levels. Coming to a consensus on the standards guarantees that, from the viewpoint of any given state, topics will move up or down in a consistent grade level sequence. What is important to keep in mind is that the progression in the Common Core is mathematically coherent and leads to college and career readiness at an internationally competitive level.