What Are the Common Core Standards?

Since 2010, 45 states - including California - have adopted the same standards for English/Language Arts and Math.  These standards are called the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  Having the same standards helps all students get a good education, even if they change schools or move to a different state.  Teachers, parents, and education experts designed the CCSS to prepare students for success in college and the workplace.

We believe that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are more in alignment with Monarch's educational philosophy than were the California State Standards.  Transitions between grade levels are more clearly articulated and grade-level content is more developmentally appropriate than in the California standards.   There is less focus on memorization of discreet subject matter and more on integrating what is learned and developing critical thinking skills.  There will be less emphasis on skills that help children test well, and more on synthesizing what is learned to solve problems.  These are the skills that will help our students succeed in their future lives, whether they enter college or the workplace after high school.

Placing a higher value on critical thinking and problem-solving skills means that assessment will have to change also.  The 2013 - 2014 school year will be the last year that students will take the California Standards Tests, or CSTs.  Assessments to measure progress on the Common Core Standards are currently being developed and field tested by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). 
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a multi-state consortium working to develop next-generation assessments that accurately measure student progress toward college- and career-readiness. Smarter Balanced is on track to roll out the new assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by the 2014-15 school year.

The very best way to learn more about these innovations is to read about them yourself.  You can click on Common Core State Standards to read the standards themselves or on Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to find out more about the new assessments.  You can even try out some sample test items at Sample Items and Performance Tasks on the SBAC website.  We believe that the Common Core is a step in the right direction for education, with its emphasis on higher order thinking and problem solving.  We welcome this new challenge and know that Monarch's students will benefit greatly from the Common Core.

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