The Common Core State Standards And Our Schools
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt. The Missouri State Board of Education has adopted the Common Core State Standards as a portion of the new educational standards for all public schools within Missouri and are commonly known as the Missouri Learning Standards. The Missouri Learning Standards define the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in college, other postsecondary training and careers.
The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit bearing entry courses in two or four year college programs or enter the workforce. The standards are clear and concise to ensure that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of the expectations in reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics in school.
The nation’s governors and education commissioners, through their representative organizations the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) led the development of the Common Core State Standards and continue to lead the initiative. The federal government was not involved in the development of the Common Core State Standards. Teachers, parents, school administrators and experts from across the country together with state leaders provided input into the development of the standards.
How will knowledge of the Common Core State Standards Be Tested?
Currently in the State of Missouri, public school students take tests developed by the State of Missouri known as the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test. The test is administered in grades 3-8 in English/Language Arts and Mathematics. It is also administered in grades 5 & 8 in Science. On the high school level students are given End of Course (EOC) exams at the end of specific courses no matter when they are taken by students. Starting in the 2014-2015 school year, Missouri Schools will switch to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium assessment, which is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. This state-led consortia assessment is grounded in the following principles:
- Allow for comparison across students, schools, districts, states and nations;
- Create economies of scale;
- Provide information and support more effective teaching and learning; and
- Prepare students for college and careers.
What does the switch to the Common Core State Standards Mean to Students?
The standards provide clarity and consistency in what is expected of student learning across the country. This initiative helps provide all students with an equal opportunity for an education, regardless of where they live. The Common Core State Standards will not prevent different levels of achievement among students, but they will ensure more consistent exposure to materials and learning experiences through curriculum, instruction, and teacher preparation among other supports for student learning. Having common standard across various states will not only allow teachers to collaborate from state to state, it will also allow Missouri schools to make accurate comparisons of the skills of students from state to state.
What are the New Common Core State Standards?
The Common Core State Standards in Mathmatics are based on what are called the Standards for Mathematical Practice. The Standards for Mathematical Practice describe varieties of expertise that mathematics educators at all levels should seek to develop in their students. These practices rest on important “processes and proficiencies” with longstanding importance in mathematics education. The eight Standards of Mathematical Practice included in the Common Core standards are:
MP1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
MP2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
MP3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
MP4 Model with mathematics.
MP5 Use appropriate tools strategically.
MP6 Attend to precision.
MP7 Look for and make use of structure.
MP8 Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
For a more detailed explaination of the new Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, including grade level descriptions, click here.
English Language Arts
The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (“the Standards”) are the culmination of an extended, broad-based effort to fulfill the charge issued by the states to create the next generation of K–12 standards in order to help ensure that all students are college and career ready in literacy no later than the end of high school.
The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts focus on these learning areas:
- Speaking & Listening
You can visit the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Missouri Learning Standards website by clicking here.