Common Core State Standards
Charles County Public Schools is transitioning to the Maryland Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The Common Core defines the skills and knowledge students need to be successful in the workplace and postsecondary education, ensuring that students receive a high quality education. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) adopted the Common Core State Standards in June 2010. The Common Core State Standards were used to create the framework for the new Maryland State Curriculum, which places an emphasis on academic rigor. The goal of the CCSS is to assure that children leave school with the real-world skills and knowledge they need to succeed in college and/or their careers.
Development of CCSS
The Common Core State Standards initiative is a state-led effort to develop a set of kindergarten through grade 12 education standards in Reading/English Language Arts and mathematics. In a collaborative effort, 48 states, 2 territories and the District of Columbia worked to develop a common core of state standards in Reading/English Language Arts and mathematics aimed at providing a consistent level of high quality educational expectations from school to school, state to state. Previously, curriculum was developed and implemented by each state. The effort was coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers with input from ACT, College Board, Achieve, Inc. and other stakeholder groups.
The CCSS include the following characteristics:
- anchored in college and career readiness
- clear, understandable and consistent
- include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order thinking skills
- build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards
- evidence based
- informed by other high performing countries to ensure all students are prepared for success in a global economy.
Changes in Reading/English Language Arts instruction
The CCSS for Reading/English Language Arts (RELA) include six instructional changes:
- Balancing informational and literary texts - an increase in informational reading passages
- Building knowledge across all subject areas – a greater emphasis in literacy and text analysis across all subjects
- Staircase of complexity – prepare students for the complexity of college and higher level reading
- Text-based answers - demonstration of student understanding through well-developed and elaborate verbal and written responses from reading passages
- Writing from sources – emphasize the use of evidence to make an argument or to explain a concept
- Academic vocabulary – build a student’s vocabulary to analyze complex readings.
The CCSS for Reading/English Language Arts focus on providing students with the skills necessary to know how to read, write, analyze text and present a clear understanding of information.
Changes in mathematics instruction
The CCSS for mathematics include six instructional changes:
- Focus – narrow and deepen the scope of mathematics in the classroom
- Coherence – facilitate learning within and across grade levels and courses
- Fluency – determine simple calculations quickly and accurately
- Deep understanding – analyze concepts from a variety of perspectives
- Applications – apply mathematics concepts in real-world situations
- Dual intensity – develop an understanding of concepts through focused practice.
The CCSS for mathematics focus on providing students with the skills necessary to complete a mathematical procedure and have the ability to understand why procedures work.
Overview of Maryland’s STEM Initiatives
To be a leader in STEM education, Maryland will prepare and inspire generations of learners to meet the challenges of the global society through innovation, collaboration and creative problem solving. Through the CCSS, Maryland aims to increase student achievement by engaging and exposing students to innovative science, mathematics and engineering instruction with technology-based activities across curriculum.
Overview of Maryland’s social studies initiatives
Reading and writing are important skills for building knowledge in history and social studies. The CCSS encourage students to examine primary and secondary resources, identify social studies vocabulary and evaluate historical arguments as part of these courses. Students also create informational and argumentative written works while using appropriate technology, research strategies and historical resources.
How does this affect students and parents?
During the next two school years, students will encounter lessons that feature an increased emphasis on earlier development of skills accompanied by higher standards. Higher standards also help students and parents set clear and realistic goals for success.
As a result of the transition to CCSS, parents and students may notice changes in course titles and course placements. The curriculum will continue to support access, participation and progress for all students.
State tests based on the new CCSS will not be implemented for two school years.
Why mathematics and Reading/English Language Arts?
Mathematics and Reading/English Language Arts were chosen first for common core standards because these subjects provide students with skills used to build success in all content areas and are focal subjects of county and state tests. Within the Reading/English Language Arts standards are criteria for history and social studies, and sciences and technical subjects, as well as college and career-readiness expectations for reading and writing.
The CCSS also aim to increase student achievement in STEM-related subjects. On a national level, the CCSS excluded standards for prekindergarten students. In Maryland, the CCSS includes curriculum standards for students in grades prekindergarten through grade 12.
For more information
The CCSS website provides detailed outlines of the new mathematics and Reading/English Language Arts Common Core State Standards. Visit www.corestandards.org.