Common Core FAQs
WHAT ARE EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS?
Educational standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful by providing clear goals for student learning.
- Provide clarity and consistency in what is expected of student learning across the country, giving all students an equal opportunity for an education, regardless of where they live
- Help educators by providing goals and benchmarks to ensure students are achieving certain skills and knowledge by the end of each year.
- Help colleges and professional development programs better prepare teachers.
WHAT IS THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDS INITIATIVE?
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt. The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit bearing entry courses in two or four year college programs or enter the workforce. The standards are clear and concise to ensure that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of the expectations in reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics in school.
WHY IS THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS INITIATIVE IMPORTANT?
Previous education laws did not specify the level of excellence that state standards should reflect. Each state standard was different, so because of variation across states, a student’s ZIP code continued to predict what he or she was expected to learn each year until graduation from high school. Universities and employers were seeing the consequences of the low expectations for students, who were finishing high school unprepared for college and careers. In 2012, half of the 3 million students entering higher education each year required at least one remedial course, totaling $7 billion for noncredit classes; while 89% of surveyed high school teachers said students were college-ready, only 26% of college professors agreed. Among employers, 34% found the preparation of newly hired employees with a high school diploma “deficient,” and only 16% thought the preparation was “excellent.”
High standards that are consistent across states provide teachers, parents, and students with a set of clear expectations that are aligned to the expectations in college and careers. The standards promote equity by ensuring all students, no matter where they live, are well prepared with the skills and knowledge necessary to collaborate and compete with their peers in the United States and abroad. Unlike previous state standards, which were unique to every state in the country, the Common Core State Standards enable collaboration between states on a range of tools and policies, including:
- The development of textbooks, digital media, and other teaching materials aligned to the standards;
- The development and implementation of common comprehensive assessment systems to measure student performance annually that will replace existing state testing systems;
WHO WAS INVOLVED IN THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS INITIATIVE?
In response to concerns voiced by state education chiefs, governors, leading researchers, and the business community, in 2009, state chiefs and governors began engaging in a bipartisan collaboration to voluntarily commit to create common English language arts and mathematics standards aligned with the expectations of postsecondary job training programs and credit bearing entry level courses in two and four year colleges. Academic standards for high school graduation were vetted by the researcher community, educators, the public, and then each grade’s standards was written, creating a clear pathway to college and career readiness. Teachers, leaders, and content experts in English language arts and mathematics led the writing of the standards, which were released for public comment several times, and over 10,000 individual educators, parents and community members weighed in on the standards.
Today, 45 states and the District of Columbia have voluntarily adopted the Standards. Each state independently made the decision to adopt the Standards, beginning in 2010. The federal government was not involved in the development of the standards. Local teachers, principals, and superintendents lead the implementation of the Common Core.
WHY AND WHEN WERE THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS ADOPTED IN OKLAHOMA?
Oklahoma students have some of the worst performance outcomes on the National Assessment of Educational Progress:
- Oklahoma 4th graders rank 40th in reading and 38th in math
- Oklahoma 8th graders rank 38th in reading and 38th in math.
- Oklahoma 8th graders rank 35th in science.
What this means is Oklahoma sets too low of expectations for students leading to too many Oklahoma students graduating from high school unprepared for college and career. In fact, In Oklahoma, 37 percent of graduates who go to college need remediation—costing Oklahoma families thousands of dollars in extra tuition paid for college courses that do not count toward graduation.
So In 2010, the Oklahoma Legislature passed bi-partisan legislation directing the state board to adopt higher standards. Oklahoma’s standards, adopted by the Oklahoma State Board of Education in July 2010.
WHAT GUIDANCE DO THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS PROVIDE TEACHERS?
The Common Core State Standards are a clear set of shared goals and expectations for the knowledge and skills students need in English language arts and mathematics at each grade level to ultimately be prepared to