Common Core State Standards and Aligned Assessments
Over the past two years, schools throughout California have begun implementing new academic standards, known as the Common Core State Standards, that better cover the knowledge and skills students need to be college and career ready. California approved Common Core in 2010 and 48 other states and territories have also adopted the standards. These standards set new expectations for K-12 students in English language arts and mathematics.
The process used to write Common Core was led by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They were informed by:
- The best state standards in the nation;
- The experience of teachers, content experts, states and leading thinkers;
- Feedback from the general public.
While California’s previous academic standards share many similarities with Common Core, the new standards focus on the deeper learning of a limited number of crucial topics instead of merely scratching the surface of a wider range of material. Further, Common Core promotes greater problem solving and critical thinking skills, which students need to compete in today’s global economy. As with the state’s previous standards, Common Core sets the expectations and leaves how to meet them up to local school districts and teachers.
The adoption of Common Core also requires new assessments to ensure the new standards are being met. California has joined over 20 other states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), which has developed tests to measure how well students in grades 3-8 and 11 are learning Common Core curriculum. These tests represent a significant change in how the state measures learning. Multiple-choice, fill-in-the-bubble testing will be replaced by tests administered on computers that ask more open-ended questions, requiring students to develop their own answers. Additionally, these tests will be “adaptive,” meaning the questions will adjust automatically to be more or less difficult based on a student’s response to the previous question. This new assessment approach will provide a more accurate picture of what students have learned.
Students throughout the state will take the new tests for the first time this spring as part of a trial run in advance of the first full administration slated for spring 2015. This “test of the tests” is designed to evaluate the tests and the technology platform used to administer them. Because the assessment is still a work in progress, it will not provide individual student results.
NEWS & ARTICLES
California prepares for Common Core standards, Mercury News READ
New techniques get kids thinking critically, Coastline Pilot READ
Study Looks at Common Core Teaching Strategies, Education Week READ
Common Core Poses Challenges, Opportunities, Ed Source READ
Common Core Standards are Right for California, SF Gate READ
The State of Common Core, Edutopia READ
Get more information about Common Core and the upcoming test READ
View a video that explains the new tests to students WATCH
Try a practice test and see what is being expected of students GO
Understanding how the transition to the Common Core will be made in California GO
Getting a head start on the Common Core GO
Parent guides to the Common Core standards GO
Common Core information from the California Department of Education GO
National Common Core State Standards Initiative GO
Implementation Information from the Council of Great City Schools GO
California Leadership Planning Guide: Common Core Implementation GO