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Common Core FAQ
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 students.

• 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 global environment.

• 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.


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