Glendora Unified recently began assessing and planning for the implementation of a new set of standards aimed at helping students succeed in careers and education beyond K-12.
Common Core State Standards, adopted by California in 2010, will bring a national standard to K-12 education by having individual states adopt a set of standards that can be applied across the country.
The new standards will be implemented in 2014-2015. Until then, the current standards will remain. The CCSS includes standards for mathematics, English-language arts, and literacy for K-12 students.
At a staff development day Oct. 10, the district brought CCSS to the teachers so that they can understand it and learn how apply it.
The remainder of this year, site administrators will be working with individual schools and departments in Glendora to understand how CCSS will affect grade level learning and content areas.
“It’s quite a bit of work, although California has some high standards already,” said Glendora Unified Superintendent Robert Voors at the Oct. 10 board of education meeting. “When the assessment starts in 2014, that’s going to be a little bit of a stretch for us.”
California standards are broad and students are asked to absorb a lot of info, but without a lot of depth, according to Michelle Hunter, assistant superintendent of educational services.
"Common Core really narrowed the focus and brought in depth and complexity of learning, so students will now have to take their learning to an application level and be assessed in a completely different manner," Hunter said.
For ELA, CCSS will focus with intensity on text complexity, while focusing on writing arguments and drawing evidence from sources. For math, some differences will include a shift in grade level for some skills and options available for eighth grade students.
States with very rigorous standards, such as California, are allowed to “individualize” their adoption of CCSS by adding up to 15 percent of their own standards.
According to a California School Board Association article from July 2010, Kathy Gaither, undersecretary of education, was adamant that Common Core only be adopted with the addition of some of California’s standards.
California opted to add about 8 percent of its own standards to Common Core to maintain its rigor in English Language Arts, while adding the maximum 15 percent to Mathematics standards, Hunter said.
An implementation framework was established by then State Superintendent Jack O’Connell in 2010 to address curriculum frameworks, adoption of instructional materials and assessments.
California will take part in a consortium to design assessments to meet federal and state level accountability requirements. Dubbed SMARTER Balanced, the consortia will help maximize student-teacher interaction and better monitor student success.
The Common Core State Standards were developed in 2009 by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.