Common Core State Standards
The Common Core State Standards initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Maryland became involved in the initiative in June 2009, when Governor Martin O'Malley and former State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick signed on to the initiative along with representatives from 48 other states and two territories. In June 2010, the Maryland State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects by unanimous vote. The Core Standards:
- Are aligned with college and work expectations.
- Are clear, understandable, and consistent.
- Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills.
- Build on strengths and lessons of current state standards.
- Are informed by other top-performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in a global economy and society.
- Are evidence-based (CCSSO & NGA, 2010).
The Common Core State Standards are a breakthrough in focus and coherence. They allow students to understand what is expected of them and to become progressively more proficient in understanding and using mathematics. The Common Core State Standards for mathematics include two types of standards: one for mathematical practice (how students are able to apply and extend mathematics principles) and one for mathematical content (what students know about mathematics). The two are linked together while students are learning. The Common Core Standards focus on core conceptual understandings and procedures starting in the early grades, thus enabling teachers to take the time needed to teach core concepts and procedures well -- and to give students the opportunity to really master them.
Some of the benefits of the Common Core Standards include:
- A common set of standards ensures that all students, no matter where they live, will be focused on graduating from high school prepared for post-secondary education and careers. In an increasingly mobile society, families with children transferring to new schools will not have to adjust to new learning expectations. Standards will be the same for all students in states adopting the CCSS, making transitions smoother for students.
- In a competitive global economy, all students must compete with not only American peers in other states, but with students from around the world. The CCSS were designed to prepare students to succeed in this environment.
- Common standards will facilitate conversation among parents, teachers, and children about high-level academic learning goals. Because common standards define exactly what students should know and be able to do at each grade level, they will help parents hold their schools accountable for teaching students in ways that support learning of the important content and skills defined by the CCSS.
- With adoption of the CCSS, states and districts can share experiences, methods of assessment, teaching practices, instructional materials, and approaches to helping parents support and reinforce learning at home (Education Northwest, 2011, pp. 1-4).
The Common Core State Curriculum Framework for Mathematics will form the foundation for Howard County's mathematics curriculum and help prepare graduates to be college and career ready. Howard County has launched a broad-based process to revise its curriculum to align with the Core Standards, which will be fully implemented by the 2014-15 school year. With students, parents and teachers all on the same page and working together for shared goals, Howard County can ensure that students make progress each year and graduate from school prepared to succeed and build a strong future for themselves, for Maryland, and the country.
To learn more, visit Frequently Asked Questions about the Common Core State Standards.