Common Core Standards

Common Core FAQ  

            1.  What is the Common Core State Standards Initiative?  

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Gov­ernors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).  CCSS is a clear set of shared goals and expecta­tions within participating states for the knowledge and skills students need in “core” subject areas (English language arts and mathematics) at each grade level to ultimately be prepared for either college or career. In South Caro­lina, common standards are nothing new. Schools have been teaching common standards – devel­oped by and unique to our state - in English lan­guage arts (ELA), mathematics, science and social studies since the passage of the Education Account­ability Act of 1998. State educational leaders, including the State Board of Education, believe having common standards defined for each state that are internationally benchmarked will result in career-and college-ready high school graduates.

2.    Is this just another education fad being pushed by the federal government?

State leaders, not the federal government, drove the creation and development of CCSS. The decision for states to participate is voluntary and is not a requirement of the federal government. State leaders, including governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states and two territories, were concerned about differing levels of education standards from state to state and unfair comparisons being made concerning the quality of schools from one state to another.

 3.    Will adopting CCSS mean that our state has to use a certain curriculum picked by other states?

 Common core learning or academic stan­dards are not a curriculum. They are shared edu­cation goals and expectations for what students should know at each grade level. Curriculum, on the other hand, is how teachers teach to help students meet those standards including the text­books and other materials. Curriculum is gener­ally chosen at the district or even the school level, and in many cases, individual teachers actually decide on the curriculum and classroom content.

             4.    Who developed CCSS?

Teachers, parents, and education experts worked on a set of “common standards” for every state to ensure high school graduates are prepared for college or a career.

             5.    What makes CCSS different from our state standards?

CCSS is a clear set of shared goals and expecta­tions for the knowledge and skills students need in the core subject areas of English language arts and mathematics at each grade level to prepare for either college or career. These standards will not be unique to South Carolina but are internationally benchmarked. With CCSS there are fewer standards in each subject, providing more freedom for teachers to delve into appropriate content, spend time on analysis and reading and on mathemati­cal application and fluency than with our current state standards.

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