The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative was an effort among the nation’s governors in 2009 and 2010 to establish a set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics. Since then, 45 states (including California) and the District of Columbia have voluntarily adopted these standards. The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit -bearing entry courses in two or four- year college programs or enter the workforce. The standards ensure that parents, teachers, and students have an understanding of the expectations in reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics. (National Governors Association, Common Core State Standards Initiative)
The standards do not prescribe what to teach but rather establish broad principles for student learning in language arts and mathematics. Standards for other subject areas are being developed for use in future years. Tests of students’ learning in language arts and mathematics will be administered in California in the spring of 2014 but results will not be published by the California Department of Education. This approach allows teachers and students the opportunity in the 2013-14 school year to learn together about the changes in academic expectations. Performance data from the tests in the spring of 2015 will be made available throughout the state.
At the October 15, 2013 Ojai Unified School District Board of Education Meeting, the Board members adopted the following statement as a general explanation of the broad changes that students in the District will experience starting in this year of transition from the California standards of almost 20 years to the CCSS. Full implementation of the CCSS will begin in the fall of 2014.
All students deserve a world-class education for success in college, careers, and life. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and assessments help ensure that all high school graduates develop critical thinking skills of comprehension, application, analysis, and evaluation required for a successful future in an increasingly competitive and global world.
The CCSS represent key shifts in teaching and learning, emphasizing:
in-depth writing over short-answer or multiple choice evaluations,
student research over lectures,
collaborative learning in addition to individual learning,
evidence-based understanding over factual recall,
depth over breadth in the study of academic disciplines, and
integrated, interdisciplinary knowledge over isolated, subject-based knowledge.