What are the Common Core State Standards?
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a coherent progression of
learning expectations in English Language Arts and Mathematics designed
to prepare K–12 students for college and career success. The CCSS
communicate what is expected of students at each grade level, putting
students, parents, teachers, and school administrators on the same page,
working toward shared goals. While most states already had English
Language Arts and Mathematics standards in place, they varied widely
from state to state in their coverage and level of rigor.
How were the standards developed?
The CCSS effort was launched in June 2009, through a partnership of the
Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors
Association working together with parents, teachers, school
administrators, and experts from across the country. National and
international research, evidence, and standards, including standards
from countries that are often recognized for high-quality education,
informed development of the CCSS. After public comment, the final
version of the CCSS was released in June 2010.
What are the benefits for parents of common standards?
• A common set of standards ensures that all students, no matter where
they live, will be focused on graduating from high school prepared for
postsecondary education and careers. In an increasingly mobile society,
families with children transferring to new schools will not have to
adjust to new learning expectations. Standards will be the same for all
students in states adopting the CCSS, making transitions smoother for
• In a competitive global economy, all students must compete with not
only American peers in other states, but with students from all around
the world. The CCSS were designed to prepare students to succeed in this
• Common standards will facilitate conversation among parents, teachers,
and children about high-level academic learning goals. Because common
standards define exactly what students should know and be able to do at
each grade level, they will help parents hold their schools accountable
for teaching students in ways that support learning of the important
content and skills defined by the CCSS.
• With adoption of the CCSS, states and districts can share experiences,
methods of assessment, teaching practices, instructional materials, and
approaches to helping parents support and reinforce learning at home.
How will the standards be assessed?
Two consortia of states—the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium
and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
—have been awarded federal funding to develop an assessment system aligned with the CCSS.
Illinois, along with 25 other states belongs to the PARCC Consortium.
Different types of assessments to measure students’ progress during and
at the end of the school year will be designed for students in grades
3–12. These assessments will be used by states adopting the CCSS
beginning in the 2014–2015 school year and will replace the traditional
ISAT tests students currently take. Assessments for K-2 are being
developed but the actual testing timeline has not yet been determined.