USING COMMON CORE STANDARDS IN KENTUCKY EDUCATION
APRIL 2010 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
FROM THE PRICHARD COMMITTEE FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE
STANDARDS FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS
AND LITERACY IN HISTORY/SOCIAL STUDIES AND SCIENCEThe draft standards show needed knowledge and skills for each grade, organized into major sections for reading, writing, and speaking and listening. Language conventions like spelling and grammar are in a separate section because they are needed in all the other subjects. Major new emphases include:
• Informational reading and persuasive writing skills students will need in college and careers
• Reading more complex texts of all kinds, because our recent high school textbooks have stopped well short of the reading skills students need for adult success.
• Reading in science and social studies to develop background knowledge and comprehension skills needed for further work and study in those subjects.
STANDARDS FOR MATHEMATICSThe K-8 draft standards again show needed knowledge and skills for each grade, starting a clear statement of which skills are top priorities. For example, the draft says that “Multiplication, division, and fractions are the most important developments in Grade 3.”
This high school draft standards are organized by major concepts: number and quantity, algebra, functions, geometry, statistics and probability, and mathematical modeling. Under each concept, some elements are knowledge and skills students will need for overall adult success. Others are marked as “STEM” understanding they will need if they want careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
OUR STATEWIDE “UNBRIDLED LEARNING” STRATEGYRegional networks of teachers and leaders from each district will learn about standards and effective ways to use them, then develop district plans for how to share what they with all the schools. That work will start this summer and last at least three years.
The statewide advice will be for teachers to begin their work with the standards by:
• Breaking down the standards into more concrete steps that can be explained to students (sometimes called “scaffolding” to suggest a structure students will be able to climb).
• Developing classroom-level methods for seeing how students are doing in relation to the standards. Those activities (called “formative assessment” or “assessment for learning”) may look like traditional tests or like a regular teaching and learning: what matters is getting evidence to plan the next learning steps.
• Adjusting instruction to keep all students on track based on the evidence.
• Giving students (and parents) good information on next steps they can take, building confidence that each student can make it all the way to each needed standard.
Strong research supports our approach, showing that students achieve at higher levels and achievement gaps close when teaching and learning are organized this way.