A Students’ Guide to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

targetNew Mexico adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010 with the goal of better preparing students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in college and careers. The CCSS offer many advantages in classroom activities and in preparing youth for building strong futures, specifically the CCSS aim to:

  • Give students the skills and the preparation they need to succeed in college or careers;

  • Give all students access to the same rigorous standards, regardless of where they live, or what their family background is;

  • Clarify standards so that parents, teachers and students understand what is expected of them; and

  • Increase collaboration across schools, districts, and states to share resources.

Currently, Common Core State Standards exist only for English Language Arts and Mathematics. Common Core standards will be developed in the future for other core subjects such as science and social studies.

Some key websites with videos and more information are included below:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheHuntInstitute http://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/common-core-standards-ela

CCSS Key Points
The Common Core Standards are State-Driven

The common core state standards are a set of learning skills in English language arts and mathematics that all students should achieve. They set the benchmarks and guidelines for what each student should learn and be able to do at each grade level.

    Tips for Students
  • map standardsVisit newmexicocommoncore.org for student information on the New Mexico Public Education Department initiative.

  • Talk with the teachers and school staff about the standards and how you are doing in meeting them.

The Standards are a Progression

In general, standards set a progression of skills that students learn as they move through school. Students learn skills that they can build on and expand on each year.

    Tips for Students
  • Be willing to try new things and learn from successes and mistakes.

  • Visit pta.org/parents to access Parents’ Guide to Student Success for each grade level. These give you specific grade level skills as well as questions and language to use with your teachers and parents.

Students will Delve Deeper into Core Concepts

The common core state standards focus on key topics that students need to know. In math for example, that means that students focus on really understanding numbers in elementary school before they start to apply that understanding of numbers to data in middle school.

    Tips for Students
  • Set goals for completing assignments and seek help if needed.

  • Think of yourself as a scholar, mathematician, scientist, artist, linguist, etc.

  • Use your creativity to think about and solve problems, build strong reading, writing, vocabulary and computational skills.

The Reading Standards will Get More Complex

As the common core standards are implemented, students will be expected to read more complex text and discuss what they read at a more complex level.

    Tips for Students
  • Use resources to access reading material through electronic readers, internet, libraries, family centers, etc.

  • Challenge yourself to read and write often.

  • Manage assignments, class time, and health and wellness to meet school requirements.

Focus on Informational Text

To prepare students for college-level work, there will be more of a focus on informational and expository/explanatory text. In middle school especially, students will be reading informational text, including original historical documents and speeches.

    Tips for Students
  • Research topics that you are interested in using informational texts, the internet, and original documents.

  • Share your findings and evidence as you learn about your research topics.

  • Find out about your family history. Listen to and tell stories about your family history.

Assessments Will Change

Instead of multiple choice tests, students will be analyzing and synthesizing information, writing essay responses, and answering in-depth questions to show how much they understand. Much more of classroom work, quizzes and exams will involve computers and technology.

    Tips for Students
  • Practice explaining and showing how you are solving problems.

  • Think of multiple ways to solve a math problem, answer a reading discussion question, or respond to a news event.

  • Think like a scientist, mathematician, artist, speaker, reader, and writer.

Focus on Practical Skills

The common core standards were designed with the workplace in mind. Students will be working on taking the role of scientists, historians, researchers, and more. The focus will be on making sense of problems and critiquing solutions and reasoning.

    Tips for Students
  • As you work through assignments, ask how someone might use what you are working on in “real life.”

  • Help connect thinking in school to thinking at work by explaining how you solve problems, or use math and language every day.

For current student and parent information brochures and resources visit:
Take-Home Standards: Student friendly “I/We Can” Statements by grade level. http://teachershero.com/html/______common_core_ss.html

National PTA Parents’ Guide to Student Success K-12

The pamphlets are available in Spanish and English and provide an overview of what children will learn by the end of each grade in mathematics and English language arts. They also include specific parent tips, vocabulary, and questions to use with your children and their teachers at each grade level.

Some key websites with videos and more information are included below:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheHuntInstitute http://www.teachingchannel.org/newsletters/diving-into-the-common-core-state-standards