Educational standards designed to raise the bar for student
New York State has changed its guidelines for what
your child needs to learn in order to achieve success in school and
beyond. The new educational guidelines – known as Common Core State
Standards (CCSS) – align with a national initiative. They are
designed to ensure that students are challenged in school and
understand what they are learning on a deeper level and can think
critically about it. For more information on
Common Core State Standards and what they mean to Canajoharie
students, please watch the video and read the questions and answers below.
(Source: adapted from http://www.corestandards.org and
To learn about recent changes to the Common Core Standars
Watch a video on Common Core
Q: What are Common Core State Standards (CCSS)?
A: In July 2010, the New York State Board of
Regents adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English
language arts/literacy and mathematics as the new learning standards
for all students in our state. The standards focus on depth and
understanding, and provide guidelines of what students should know
and be able to do at each grade level. The standards are designed to
ensure that students leave school ready for work and college, so
they were designed to be much more rigorous than current standards.
Q. Who developed these standards?
A: The standards are a national initiative, which
has been overseen by the United States Department of Education.
Representatives from the Council of Chief State School Officers and
the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices worked
closely with educators, researchers, national education
organizations and community groups in designing the guidelines. The
standards of other high-achieving nations were also taken into
consideration. To date, 45 states have adopted similar CCSS, many as
part of their application for funding under the federal Race to the
Top educational reform efforts. Proponents of the standards believe
that establishing common education standards throughout the nation
ensures that all children—regardless of where they live, their
socioeconomic status or their personal circumstances—receive an
education that will prepare students for the future and help ensure
our nation continues to be economically competitive.
Q: What’s the status of Common Core State Standards in New York
and in other states?
A: On July 19, 2010, the
New York State Board of Regents adopted the Common Core State
Standards (CCSS) for English language arts/literacy and mathematics
as the new learning standards for all students in our state. In New
York, the CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of what
students are expected to learn. This will also help teachers and
parents know what they need to do to support students in their
education. The New York State Education Department began introducing
elements of the CCSS this year. In the 2012-13 school
year, the state began changing its exams to assess students based on
the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and
math; in the 2014-15 school year, all districts were
required to have CCSS fully implemented.
Q: What exactly are "interim assessments"?
A: They are teacher-developed and administered
tests that are given at regular intervals throughout the year. The
purpose of the assessments is to identify students' learning
strengths and weaknesses in a curriculum area. Teachers use the
results of the assessments to make decisions about their instruction
and student learning.
Q: What criteria were used to develop the Common Core State
Standards (CCSS) at the national level?
A: The CCSS were developed using the following
Standards should be aligned with expectations
for college and career success;
Standards should be clear, so that educators
and parents know what they need to do to help students learn;
Standards should be consistent across all
states, so that students are not taught to a lower standard just
because of where they live;
Standards should include both content and the
application of knowledge through high-order skills;
Standards should build upon strengths and
lessons of current state standards and standards of
Standards should be realistic, for effective
use in the classroom;
Standards should be based on successful
educational initiatives used in top-performing countries, so
that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy
Standards should be evidence-based.
Q: How will the Common Core State Standards change the teaching
and learning process?
A: There are 12 “shifts” or changes that the
Common Core requires of schools: six in ELA/literacy and six in
mathematics. The shifts are aimed at making students ready for
college and a career. For example, students will read more
non-fiction so they are able to deal with real world data at work.
For more information about the shifts in the instructional process
envisioned by the Common Core standards, see the links below:
Shifts in ELA/literacy and mathematics [PDF]
Shifts in instruction [PDF]
Q: How will the standards affect other subject areas?
A: These standards establish requirements not
only for English Language Arts (ELA) but also for literacy in
history/social studies, science and technical subjects. Because
students must learn to read, write, speak, listen and use language
effectively in a variety of content areas, the standards specify the
literacy skills and understanding required for college and career
readiness in multiple disciplines. As a natural extension of meeting
the charge to define college and career readiness, the standards
also lay out a vision of what it means to be a literate person in
the 21st century.
Q: What do the new Common Core Learning Standards mean for
student learning in mathematics?
A: These standards define what students should
understand and be able to do in their study of math. But what does
mathematical understanding look like? One hallmark of mathematical
understanding is the ability to justify, in a way appropriate to the
student’s level of mathematical understanding, why a particular
mathematical statement is true or where a mathematical rule comes
from. EngageNY, a website designed to help parents and educators
understand the new standards through practical examples, provides an
explanation of what this means. The site says, “There is a world of
difference between a student who can summon a memorization technique
to expand a product such as (a + b)(x + y) and a student who can
explain why the equation works the way that it does. The student who
can explain the details understands the mathematics, and may have a
better chance to succeed at a less familiar task such as expanding
(a + b + c)(x + y). Mathematical understanding and procedural skill
are equally important, and both are assessable using mathematical
tasks of sufficient richness.”
Q: Why are the Common Core State Standards for just ELA/literacy
A: ELA/literacy and math were the chosen for the
Common Core State Standards because the skill sets learned in these
two subject areas form the foundation for all other subject areas.
Additionally, ELA and math are most frequently assessed for
Q: What does this new initiative mean for students with
disabilities and English language learners?
A: Common standards will provide a greater
opportunity for states to share experiences and best practices
within and across states. In turn, this can lead to an improved
ability to serve young people with disabilities and English language
learners. Additionally, the K-12 English language arts and
mathematics standards include information on application of the
standards for English language learners and students with
Q: Where can I get more information on the Common Core State
A: Link to the sites below or ask one of
Canajoharie’s principals for more information.