As many of you are aware, the district is transitioning to instruction of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These standards are not just a list of skills at each grade, but also require a significant change in the way that we have been teaching and students have been learning. The rigor and depth of thinking is more intense and the ability to express their reasoning and critique the reasoning of others is integral to success on the common core standards. The CCSS are nationally and internationally benchmarked, which is very different from the past where each state developed their own standards and their own definition of proficiency.
Assessment for mastery of these standards will also look very different. In the past students could score quite well on the state tests as both the skills that were tested, and the way they were tested, were fairly superficial compared to the assessment methods of the common core. The new assessment methods will include some selected response, some constructed response, and some performance tasks. Students will also be required to express and justify their thinking that led to their response.
The standards are chunked in grade level groups of K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. The developers of the K-12 Common Core Standards have designed the progression of standards to ensure mastery of core concepts within each grade span.
Classrooms across the state will be modifying and enhancing their instruction to match the rigor of the common core and prepare the students for success on assessments of the same rigor as those that will be assessing the common core.