Understanding Common Core Standards

Understanding Common Core Standards

Common Core Standards

What is the Common Core Standards Initiative?
Image: www.corestandards.org

Common Core Standards are a hot topic around here!  But, what exactly are these standards and why do we need to become familiar with them?  Common Core Standards are a clear set of benchmarks for what children will be learning in English language, arts/literacy and math from kindergarten through high school. Adopted by 44 states and District of Columbia, the Common Core State Standards outline what exactly a student should know and should be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards emphasize skills that ensure students graduating from high school are prepared to take college-level classes or enter the workforce. Unlike previous state standards, which varied greatly from state to state, the Common Core Standards seek to establish collaboration among the participating states on a range of tools, textbooks, digital media and teaching focus and materials.

Why the switch to Common Core?

In 2004, “Ready or Not,” the final report of a multi-year reasearch project by the American Diploma Project found that:

employers’ and colleges’ academic demands for high school graduates have converged, yet states’ current high-school exit expectations fall well short of those demands.

So, in 2009, state school chiefs and governors designed a collaborative program with the help of expert teachers and administrators to provide a comprehensive framework for all educators, nationwide. The Common Core Standards are detailed and the implementation is varied from state to state. Here is a basic summary of the learning expectations for children from Kindergarten through 3rd Grade. Of course, we recommend that you contact your local state Common Core department for additional details and if you have any questions.

Common Core Standards Through Third Grade:

  • Kindergarten Expectations: Naming and writing letters, knowing sounds of letters, reading and spelling sight words, reading and talking about fiction and non-fiction, number counting to 100, comparing groups of objects, adding and subtracting small numbers, story problems involving addition and subtraction, recognizing shapes.
  • First Grade Expectations: Using phonics to read and spell more complicated words, ability to identify main idea and details of a story, beginning proper outline for writing about a certain topic, addition and subtraction word problems, adding and subtracting two-digit numbers.
  • Second Grade Expectations: Using phonics to read two or three syllable words, able to answer “who, what, why, when and how” questions when reading, establishing the moral or a lesson of a story, adding sums of 20 or less, regrouping two and three digit numbers, understanding telling time and understanding the values of currency.
  • Third Grade Expectations: Using prefixes, suffixes, root words and understanding meanings of new words, finding the main idea and details in fiction and non-fiction, becoming familiar with details from a story, conducting low level research, beginning multiplication and division, one and two step word problems, beginning to understand fractions and recognizing area and perimeter of rectangles.

Mastery Connect has an excellent free downloadable app for use as reference guide to Common Core Standards on your smartphone or tablet.

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