The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy. The adoption of the Common Core State Standards by more than 40 states might be the first step toward meaningful and comprehensive comparisons of student performance and achievement among states. Under these new standards, educators across the country will work under the same guidelines for what students need to know and are expected to do.

Unpacking standards to improve instruction By Michael Schrimpf Ensuring that teachers understand what hides inside each standard is a first and crucial step to helping students master each standard.

My wife and I have very different ideas about vacations, especially when it comes to packing and unpacking while travelling.

So, naturally, when it comes to packing and unpacking during a trip, I look at the weather reports, decide what I need to bring and stuff it in a suitcase. When I arrive, I typically unzip my suitcase and common core standards writing assessment directly out of it until it is time to go home.

My wife on the other hand dutifully unpacks her suitcase when she arrives and puts everything in the correct drawers in the hotel room, just as she would at home.

But when it comes to the process of unpacking the Common Core State Standards, she just might be on to something. When adopting new learning standards, one of the most common first steps is to unpack those standards and define in very specific terms exactly what students should know and be able to do to master a given standard by the end of the year.

In a way, this is like my approach to packing. I look at the weather forecast, decide what I need, and make sure everything is in the suitcase. But unless I take the extra step of organizing everything when I arrive, things still get lost.

So what does this look like when we switch from socks and underwear to the Common Core? The process is fairly simple, though not necessarily easy.

In a nutshell, it begins by unpacking each of the Common Core standards into statements of knowledge and skill that define student mastery by the end of the year. But even when unpacked, the standards are rigorous and complex. Students need to wrestle with them in different contexts and with decreasing levels of support until they are capable of mastery.

Done properly, this takes students at least an entire school year, if not longer. This reality has significant implications on the process of unit planning. To meet the complex demands of the Common Core by the end of the school year, students are going to need to work towards them in multiple units throughout the year.

So the second step in the unpacking process is to identify which standards appear in each unit. Once these units have been identified, the final step is to define exactly how much of a standard needs to be mastered in each unit so that students master it completely by the end of the year.

For example, if I want students to be able to conduct research on a topic of their choosing and to use their research to write an argument essay, I might want to make sure that by the end of unit 1 students have read a number of argument essays and can identify techniques that the authors used to make their arguments effective.

Perhaps in the next unit I would want to make sure that my students knew and were able to use techniques to conduct effective research and evaluate the credibility of their sources. Essentially, it is a process of defining a particular standard by unpacking it, then developing benchmarks based on how that standard was unpacked and the units in which it appears.

This is one of the approaches that we use at Premier Charter School PCS to help our teachers plan and deliver rigorous instruction and help our students master the content they need to become college- and career-ready. PCS serves nearly 1, students in grades K-8 drawn from across St.

When students arrive at PCS, typically less than two in 10 are reading and using math at grade level. Yet by the time they graduate, the gap has closed and our students have met or exceeded state proficiency averages.

So how exactly does this unpacking process work? Countless resources are available to help with the initial unpacking process. Using these tools, we determined that to meet this standard, students would need to understand and be able to define the concept of a unit rate, be able to determine the unit rate in a proportional relationship that is given in multiple forms table, graph, equation, etc.

Math is a particularly difficult subject to plan for because we need to understand exactly what each standard calls for, but we also need to understand best practices related to how students build understanding of given topics. We use the previously mentioned Progressions Documents.

These resources helped us determine that the standard in question — finding a unit rate in a proportional relationship — is only one of many strategies students can use to solve proportional situations. Thus, instruction on this topic needs to occur as part of a broader unit on solving proportional situations using a variety of strategies.

Once we developed a very thorough understanding of this particular standard, how to define student mastery of it, and what role it should play in instruction, we were ready to unpack it into units.

We found that the best way to do this is to begin with what you already have. Particularly in math, most schools use a math text series of some kind. So start there, and look at how each standard is covered throughout the year.

At Premier, we use the Connected Math Project 3 as our math text in the middle school. So once we understood our standards and how they should be taught, we audited our texts to determine how they are taught.Learn why the Common Core is important for your child.

What parents should know; Myths vs. facts. As of this writing, 45 states have voluntarily adopted the standards, along with three territories and the District of Columbia.

Common Core Test Study Guide with Practice Questions Before the initiative, each state set its own educational requirements, which led to a situation in which some states had much lower standards than others. For decades, the United States maintained various academic quality standards among states, resulting in wide disparities in student proficiency as measured under the No Child Left Behind Act and highlighted by National Assessment of Education Progress scores.

The adoption of the Common Core State. Sep 17, · Learn more about the Common Core State Standards and how they will shift English Language Arts teaching and learning, and discover links to classroom and professional development resources for K–3 teachers.

Updated April 25, What is the Common Core Standards Initiative (CCSI)? The CCSI is a common core of state standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K developed by Governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states, 2 .

Learn why the Common Core is important for your child. What parents should know; Myths vs.

facts.

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