On July 19, 2010, the New York State Board of Regents
adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts
and literacy as well as for mathematics as new
learning standards for all students in New York State. To date, 45
states have adopted similar CCSS. Establishing common education
standards throughout the nation ensures that all children---regardless
of geography, socioeconomic status, or life history---receive an
education that values their potential.
In New York State, the CCSS provide a consistent,
clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so that
teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The
standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world,
reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for
success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared
for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete
successfully in the global economy.
Learn more about the
Common Core State Standards by viewing the video below, produced by the
Common Core "shifts"
There are twelve shifts that the Common Core requires
of schools if we are to be truly aligned with it in terms of
curricular materials and classroom instruction. There are six shifts in
ELA/ Literacy and six shifts in Mathematics.
What do the new standards look like? (Adapted
Common Core Learning Standards for English
Language Arts & Literacy These standards set requirements not only for English language
arts (ELA) but also for literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and
Technical subjects. Just as students must learn to read, write, speak,
listen, and use language effectively in a variety of content areas, so
too must the standards specify the literacy skills and understanding
required for college and career readiness in multiple disciplines.
As a natural outgrowth of meeting the charge to
define college and career readiness, the standards also lay out a vision
of what it means to be a literate person in the twenty-first century.
Indeed, the skills and understandings students are expected to
demonstrate have wide applicability outside the classroom or workplace.
Students who meet the standards readily undertake the
close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding and
enjoying complex works of literature. They habitually perform the
critical reading necessary to pick carefully through the staggering
amount of information available today, both print and digitally. They
actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with
high-quality literary and informational texts that builds knowledge,
enlarges experience, and broadens worldviews. They reflexively
demonstrate the cogent reasoning and use of evidence that is essential
to both private deliberation and responsible citizenship in a democratic
republic. In short, students who meet the Standards develop the skills
in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation for
any creative and purposeful expression in language.
Within Goshen, students in
the upper grades will likely see the most dramatic shift in focus as the
curriculum moves towards a greater emphasis on information literacy.
Under the new standards, there will be an increased expectation for
students to be able to provide text-based responses to questions.
Common Core Learning Standards for
These standards define what students should understand and be able to do
in their study of math. But what does mathematical understanding look
like? One hallmark of mathematical understanding is the ability to
justify, in a way appropriate to the student’s mathematical maturity,
why a particular mathematical statement is true or where a mathematical
rule comes from.
There is a world of difference between a student who
can summon a mnemonic device to expand a product such as (a + b)(x + y)
and a student who can explain where the mnemonic comes from. The student
who can explain the rule understands the mathematics, and may have a
better chance to succeed at a less familiar task such as expanding (a +
b + c)(x + y). Mathematical understanding and procedural skill are
equally important, and both are assessable using mathematical tasks of
Within Goshen, students at
the elementary level will likely see the most dramatic shift in focus as
the curriculum moves from a spiraling approach to a mastery approach.
Meaning, students will be expected to develop a deeper conceptual
understanding of core content and build upon it from year to year. The
district's "Everyday Mathematics" program, as well as several other
programs, will be evaluated in the coming months to ensure that they
align with the new standards.
When will the new standards be implemented?
Preparations are currently underway to implement the
new CCSS at Goshen. Teams of teachers began
meeting in summer 2011 to review and analyze the new standards, and to
align the standards to the district's existing curriculum maps. Teachers
and administrators have also been attending various trainings to learn
how best to implement the new standards in the classroom.
The CCSS will impact all students, K-12, and as such,
preparing to implement the program will be quite a challenge. While the
district is not required to be fully operational under the new standards
until September 2012, aspects of the program will be gradually phased
into classroom throughout the current school year.
Students will be assessed by the state on the new
standards beginning in the 2012-13 school year.
How will the changes affect student performance on state exams?
officials are already warning parents, school leaders, teachers and
media outlets to expect a dip in student scores on these exams. In fact,
in Tennessee where Common Core-aligned tests were given for the first
time last year, test scores dropped 30 percent when compared with
previous year’s results.
According to New York State Education Commissioner John King, “…we
expect the assessment scores will decline…The number of students meeting
or exceeding Common Core grade-level expectations should not be
interpreted as a decline in student learning or a decline in educator
performance. The results from these new assessments will give educators,
parents, policymakers, and the public a more realistic picture of where
students are on their path to being well-prepared for the world that
awaits them after they graduate from high school.”
It’s important to remember that it will take time for schools to become
accustomed to higher standards and the test scores will reflect this
period of transition. In the end, students will ultimately benefit not
only by learning more, but also by developing better problem-solving,
critical thinking and communications skills.