English language arts and mathematics make up the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Based on the most effective standards from states across the country and countries around the world, the goal of CCSS is to foster success beyond high school whether the student enters college, skills training or the workforce. The Common Core State Standards Initiative Web site centralizes information and tracks the development process.
The vision of American students fully prepared for their future is consistent with our state’s vision:
Every Washington public school student will graduate from high school globally competitive for work and postsecondary education and prepared for life in the 21st century.
State Standards Remain in Effect
Teachers can be confident that our current academic standards will provide a strong foundation for the transition. In content, the Common Core State Standards are a close match to our state’s current standards, but strengthen those standards by targeting the skills and knowledge that are most critical for students to know—a reflection of standards in other countries that focus on depth, not breadth.
Given the close alignment of Common Core State Standards with our state’s vision and standards, the decision to adopt was a logical one. What is different is how we will implement these standards:
- Teachers in many content areas, not just English Language Arts and mathematics, will teach the practices found in the Common Core State Standards.
- OSPI is partnering with several groups to develop strategies that serve educators and students: school districts and Educational Service Districts, universities and community colleges, education and professional associations, and parent and stakeholder advocacy groups.
- Washington will benefit from sharing resources and expertise with participating states. This extraordinary opportunity for collaboration will help us realize our vision not only for our students, but those in other states. It’s a cost-effective approach—but more important, it’s the right way to accomplish this work.
The standards describe what students need to learn, but they do not dictate how teachers should teach or what instructional materials they will use. Our school districts, schools and teachers will decide how best to help students achieve the standards.
By the school year 2014-15, Washington teachers will be responsible for teaching the new standards. OSPI is creating documents to provide guidance to districts and educators making decisions on how to transition to these standards.
Washington is a member of the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of two multi-state consortiums developing new assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards. These assessments will be used statewide in 2014-15.