Common Core Standards

Origin

    • An education reform plan created by the Council of Chief State School Officers,  with input from teachers, administrators, parents and education experts, and backed by the National Governors Association
    • At one time had the support of 45 states and the District of Columbia. The support was bipartisan.
    • Voluntarily adopted by 45 states, including New Hampshire in 2010.
    • Replaces No Child Left Behind” under which there were wildly varying local standards.

Purpose

    • To raise the level of learning among students in the United States so they can better compete with students from other countries.
    • To ensure that no matter what school a student graduates from, in any Common Core-aligned state, they are entering college and careers with the same base of knowledge.
    • To assure that the skills of how to learn are taught.

Standards

    • Educational standards for each grade from kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy (reading, writing, speaking and listening) and mathematics; Students will now be expected to: 
        • read and understand more challenging non-fiction texts and articles across content areas (such as social studies, math and science)
        • use evidence gathered from one text (or multiple texts) to support what they write and say
        • understand academic language and vocabulary
        • apply math problems in real-world settings with a conceptual understanding in how to solve the problems, and with procedural fluency
        • explain how to solve math problems and represent them in graphs, charts and tables
        • persevere in solving problems
    • In addition to the Common Core, New Hampshire developed its own College-and Career-Ready Standards, for science, social studies, technology, early learning, arts, career development and physical education.

Curricula

Assessment

    • New Hampshire is one of twenty-three states to join the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which is developing new assessments aligned with the CCSS. Beginning in the spring of 2015 a new test aligned to the CCSS will replace the current NECAP tests in reading, writing and math.  The NECAP test for science will remain in place.
    • The Smarter Balanced assessments will be provided in the last twelve weeks of the school year, and all students will take these tests on-line.
    • These tests will be adaptive, which means that the computer program adjusts the difficulty of questions throughout the assessment based on student responses to questions.
    • General information about the assessments, including sample questions and performance tasks, as well as practice tests can be found at http://www.smarterbalanced.org
    • Schools will use the assessments to evaluate how their students are doing and what, if anything, needs to change in the classroom.
    • On a state level, the Department of Education will use the results to determine which schools in the state are struggling and need interventions.
      • Schools with the lowest 5 percent of aggregate scores will be labeled “priority” schools.
      • The next 10 percent of schools that show the largest gaps in scores between subgroups of students, such as English-language learners or students with disabilities, will be labeled “focus” schools.

Participation

Participation is voluntary although the potential to receive federal funds is an incentive to adopt them.

Costs

    • For districts that spend money annually on teacher training and new materials, the additional costs of Common Core are likely to be minimal.
    • Some districts will have to upgrade their technology in order to support the Smarter Balanced test. The state Department of Education is in the process of surveying school districts to identify what each school will need to be ready for the new test.
    • For the first two years of the test, districts that don’t have the technology can give the test in pencil-and-paper format.

No Child Left Behind

    • “No Child Left Behind is a federal law that set a goal of 100 percent of students being proficient in grade-level reading and math by 2014. But as that deadline approached and some schools failed to meet the benchmark, those schools were hit with increasing sanctions. In 2011, the federal Department of Education began offering “waivers” for certain provisions from No Child Left Behind. If states could demonstrate they had their own accountability and performance systems in place, they could be waived from following the law.  New Hampshire received its waiver earlier this year. Under that waiver, the lowest 15 percent of schools in achievement, deemed “priority” and “focus” schools, will receive extra attention from the state Department of Education. Test scores from Smarter Balanced, based on Common Core standards, will be used in part to determine which schools are in the bottom 15 percent. The state-driven Common Core is not exactly a replacement for the federal No Child Left Behind program, but it is the next step in education reform efforts.” [Source: http://anhpe.org/2013/10/06/what-are-the-common-core-state-standards-concord-monitor/]

NH Teacher Survey

[Results from an online survey of 156 teachers in New Hampshire, conducted July 1-22, 2013, by Harrison Group, a YouGov Company,]

    • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of math, English language arts, science, and/or social studies teachers in New Hampshire are enthusiastic about the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in their classroom.
    • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of math and/or English language arts teachers in New Hampshire believe the standards will have a positive impact on students’ ability to think critically and use reasoning skillsOnly 4% believe the Common Core State Standards will have a negative impact; 24% do not expect an impact either way or are not sure.
    • At the same time, 61% of math, English language arts, science, and/or social studies teachers in New Hampshire believe implementing the standards is or will be challenging.
    • When asked about the student populations in their classrooms meeting the Common Core State Standards, teachers in New Hampshire are most concerned about special education students (with 38% expressing concern) and students who are currently working two or more grades below grade-level (37%).
    • For these and other students, teachers in New Hampshire say age-appropriate, leveled instructional materials (49%) and trained paraprofessionals in the classroom (40%) are among the top needs to help students meet the standards.

Resources:

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