The Common Core State Standards

common-core1The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are here and we are hard at work ensuring that all of our curriculum, instruction, and assessments are aligned to meet the rigorous new standards. The CCCSS represent major shifts in the learning standards that guide our work.

The first shift focuses on ensuring that the curriculum we teach in schools targets depth of knowledge vs. breadth of coverage. For years professionals have struggled with delivering mandated standards that are a “mile wide and an inch deep.” CCSS presents a resolution to that problem.

The second shift represented in the CCSS is a focus on the thinking skills and cognitive processes that underly the acquisition of academic content. The ability to plan strategically, review and evaluate resources, and develop novel opinions are essential skills in the CCSS. The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and other state standards have focused primarily on articulating the “what” of different subject matter. CCSS goes beyond the “what” and focuses on the “how” of student learning.

The third major shift lies in the notion of College and Career Readiness. The CCSS aim to ensure that students leave high school with the skills and dispositions necessary for success in post-secondary and professional environments.