Common questions about Common Core
Examples of Common Core standardsFollowing are some examples of Common Core State Standards. The full range of standards can be read at www.corestandards.org.
According to Heather Gage, director of the Division of Instruction and chief of staff for the New Hampshire Department of Education, the samples below are similar to the Grade Level Expectations that had been in place prior to the adoption of Common Core by the state Board of Education in 2010.
The state Department of Education has created a side-by-side comparison of Common Core standards and the GLE standards at www.education.nh.gov/spotlight/ccss/teachers.htm.
Grade 3 Common Core State Standards — Mathematical Practice
Domain: “Operations and Algebraic Thinking”
Topic: Represent and solve problems involving multiplication and division
Standard: Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
Standard: Determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation relating three whole numbers. For example, determine the unknown number that makes the equation true in each of the equations 8 × ? = 48, 5 = _ ÷ 3, 6 × 6 = ?
Grade 3 Common Core State Standards — English Language Arts
Domain: Reading Foundation Skills
Topic: Phonics and Word Recognition
Standard: Identify and know the meaning of the most common prefixes and derivational suffixes.
Standard: Decode words with common Latin suffixes.
High School Common Core State Standards — Mathematical Practice
Domain: Creating equations
Topic: Create equations that describe numbers or relationships
Standard: Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.
Standard: Create equations in two or more variables to represent relationships between quantities; graph equations on coordinate axes with labels and scales.
High School Common Core State Standards — English Language Arts
Topic: Text types and purposes
Standard: Introduce precise claims, distinguish the claims from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claims, counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
Standard: Develop claims and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience's knowledge level and concerns.
What are the Common Core State Standards?
The standards consist of hundreds of statements as to what tasks students should be able to complete and what concepts they should understand at different grade levels, kindergarten to Grade 12, in English/language arts and mathematics, broken into domains for each grade level and topics within each domain. For example, in Grade 3 math, the "Operations and Algebraic Thinking" domain has a topic: Represent and solve problems involving multiplication and division.
The Common Core standards focus on learning expectations for students, not how students reach them. Curriculum plans that dictate the content of day-to-day instruction and associated materials, such as textbooks and study guides, are left to the discretion of local school districts.
The standards were developed by committees of teachers and education researchers brought together by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2008-09. Their work was funded by several sources, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Pearson Publishing Company, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the governors and state schools chiefs organizations.
Common Core standards in many categories are not that different from the Grade Level Expectation (GLE) standards that New Hampshire had in place until 2010, when the state Board of Education replaced GLE with Common Core. From the broadest perspective, Common Core focuses on fewer topics and skill areas, but delves much deeper into each one.
The situation is different in every state. In New Hampshire, local school districts cannot be forced to adopt the standards, but they are required by state law to administer a standardized test approved by the state Board of Education. They are also required to administer standardized tests to certain grades at certain intervals to qualify for federal aid, which varies widely from district to district, depending on the number of children eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch.
Districts such as Alton and Manchester that have opted out of Common Core and its associated tests will have to find another standardized test and have it approved by both state and federal authorities, or risk the loss of funding.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is still the law of the land, except in those states that have obtained a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education, including New Hampshire. To receive the waiver, states needed to adopt either Common Core standards or another set of reading and math standards approved by higher education institutions in the state as college- and career-ready, and they must eventually have approved plans that link teacher evaluations to student outcomes.
How does Common Core relate to Race to the Top?
"Race to the Top" is a $4.3 billion grant program that was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or the so-called stimulus program.
That will be a matter for each school district to decide as part of contract negotiations with local teacher unions. Linking teacher and administrator evaluation to student outcomes is one of the criteria in the Race to the Top application.
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