This is part two of a three-part series about the Common Core:
1. What is the Common Core?
2. Benefits of the Common Core
3. Drawbacks of the Common Core
Adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
Since 2010, school boards across the United States of America have been adopting the use of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) within schools in their school districts. Teachers in those schools have since discovered several pros and cons to using the standards to teach skills in mathematics and English language arts (ELA) to their students, and to evaluate their students’ progress and assess their abilities with those skills throughout the school year.
Here are some of the benefits to using the Common Core State Standards to teach and assess students in the classroom.
The Common Core standards are clear and consistent
The Common Core State Standards were designed to be clear and consistent. For mathematics, certain Common Core domains, such as Operations and Algebraic Thinking (OA) and Number and Operations in Base Ten (NBT) consist across several elementary grade school levels, and build upon skills learned in previous standards contained in those same domains.
With standards that are consistent and simple to understand, expectations of student progress can easily be made clear to students, parents, teachers, and the public.
The Common Core standards encourage quality skills-based instruction to students
Using the Common Core State Standards, a school can compare the progress of its students in a fair and unbiased manner. Incorporation of the Common Core in the classroom results in quality skills-based instruction and assessment of all students in any given school, with agreed-upon guidelines for instruction and assessment worked into the academic program.
The Common Core standards prepare students for future success
The Common Core standards are an internationally benchmarked set of standards designed to help a student succeed and achieve in each progressive school year, to be ready for post-secondary education, and to see further successes in the workplace after formal education has been completed.
The Common Core standards align curriculums between schools
The Common Core standards help to align levels of teaching and assessment at schools across the country. This allows for the collaboration between teachers at different schools, and between schools in different states, to compare best practices and effective teaching methods. Instructional materials can be shared from region to region. Professional development and teaching conferences can be centralized to reduce costs; further cost reductions can be realized by sharing learning and knowledge through face-to-face meetings or over the Internet.
The Common Core standards also provide stability to mobile students. By meeting the standards of the Common Core for a particular grade level, students who move from school district to school district can be assured that they have achieved the required skill sets to be able to jump right into lessons in a new classroom at an unfamiliar institution in a different state.
The Common Core standards make it easier to choose teaching materials
Taking advantage of the Common Core State Standards makes it easier for teachers to choose teaching materials for their classrooms. Teachers will be aware of the skills that they need to cover during the school year; choosing curriculum is as easy as creating a simple checklist of materials that indicate which materials align with which Common Core standards for mathematics or English language arts. Once this material has been purchased in a way that ensures that all Common Core standards for the teacher’s grade level have been covered, a plan can be built to schedule the teaching of the various materials throughout the academic year.
If a textbook or product is aligned with the Common Core standards for your grade level, you will know in a general sense what sort of information it will include and what skills you will be able to teach your students by using it. Once you are familiar with the Common Core State Standards for your grade level, you will very quickly be able to pick out a selection of effective teaching materials for your classroom.
More about teaching and skills assessment using the Common Core
In this post I have discussed some of the benefits to adopting the Common Core State Standards. In my next post I will discuss some of the potential drawbacks to using the Common Core.
If you’re a teacher or a school board administrator and have opinions of your own about the pros and cons to using the Common Core in the classroom, I’d appreciate hearing them. Please feel free to leave a comment below.