The Common Core State Standards.

19 Dec

Notes taken by Casey – thank you!

The Common Core State Standards

Speaker: Kurt Dennis, Principal at McAuliffe. The school just moved into Park Hill, at the Smiley campus.

Common core “is controversial right now, and it really shouldn’t be.”

Educational standards are the learning goals for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.  They help teachers ensure their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful.

Common Core is a set of clear college-and career-ready standards for kindergarten thru 12th grade.

Formerly, all 50 states developed different standards/measurements.  Then 48 governors decided to make a standardization of the same goals and assessments so that states could compare “apples to apples.” States can now share resources (online tools, textbooks, etc) so it creates economies of scale. Now states don’t have to pay to develop their own tests.

Who wrote common core?  Leading educational researchers, teachers and leading experts across the country.  Started in 2009, and finished it last year. Big myth: standards created by federal government.  NOT true.  It’s supported by the federal government, but it was not created nor controlled by the federal government.

Oklahoma and Indiana have backed out; all other states are participating.

PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) aims to provide meaningful feedback to ensure that students are progressing toward attaining the necessary skills to succeed in college, career and life.  Will be used for 2014-15 school year.

Testing starts in 3rd grade and occurs each grade thru 12th. Does testing take away from class time?  “teaching to the test?”  We don’t any type of test preparation; we teach to the standards.  Every eight weeks, the kids take an assessment. We use the data to place students in specific courses.  Accelerated math, for example.  There is a separate test to determine gifted-and-talented status. Fractions: very important that kids can add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions at fifth grade.

What questions should we be asking in selecting a school?  Do a lot of research.  Models: expeditionary, core knowledge, Montessori, etc.  Look for the best fit.  Just because a school is a great school, doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for your kid.  Go on tours of the schools.  Be looking for tight systems and structures, no chaos/disorder, school culture, lots of intentionality.

Look at

Goals and methods have shifted, so be prepared for lower scores this coming school year.


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