The Common Core Arrives to the High School

In 2010, the Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) decided to implement the Common Core State Standards.  New York is one of the 45 states that has ratified to adopt the CCSS.  These standards are intended to provide clear expectations for what students should know and what skills are necessary upon high school graduation.  Although New York State has always had a clear set of learning standards, these new standards ensure that all 45 states follow the same learning goals.  It is up to each individual state, how these standards will be adopted and implemented.  The following two articles provide a good description of New York’s adoption of the CCSS and what it means for your son/daughter: http://www.education.com/magazine/article/parents-guide-to-common-core-standards/

http://nyspta.org/pdf/Advocacy/NYSPTA_NYSUT_Common_Core_Brochure_8.13.pdf

Two years ago, the NYSED began its implementation process of the CCSS with the expectation that these standards will be fully put into practice by 2015 in grades P to 12.  The NYSED released teaching modules for 9th Grade English and Algebra over this past summer.  As a result, beginning this school year (2013-2014), high schools all over New York State have begun teaching these new unit and lesson plans.  The Grade 9 English module can be accessed at  http://www.engageny.org/resource/grade-9-ela-module-1.  The Algebra modules can be accessed at http://www.engageny.org/resource/high-school-algebra-i.

Now that the NYSED has released specific information, the new curriculum, which is aligned to the CCSS, is being taught in 9th Grade English classes and all Algebra classes.  There are “shifts” in the new curriculum that represent a change from the past in how students solve mathematical problems and read material.  These new “shifts” in the curriculum are summarized here:

http://www.engageny.org/sites/default/files/resource/attachments/shifts-for-students-and-parents.pdf

Since the English Department has been anticipating and preparing for the changes for the past five years, the English Department has already incorporated many of the news standards in its curriculum.

In mathematics, there will be noticeable changes in the Common Core Algebra course being offered this year.  One of the key changes lies in the focus on problem solving and application of the mathematics.  Students are presented with questions that are often rigorous and challenging, requiring them to discover and discuss a variety of methods to find solutions. Another noticeable difference is the importance of justifying solutions through the use of proof.  Students are no longer asked simply to show work, but, instead, they must be able to explain why their work is correct.  These instructional shifts are intended to build core understandings of mathematical concepts and link those concepts to skills that are applicable in the real world.

In terms of assessing students, it is expected that the Regents exams will be phased out and eventually replaced by new Common Core assessments.  This phase in plan begins this school year with the Algebra assessment in the beginning of June.  Students in Algebra will be taking both the new Common Core assessment in the beginning of June and the traditional Algebra Regents Exam later in mid-June.  It is expected that 9th grade students will take the new Common Core English assessment during their junior year in high school.  For the NYSED’s transition plan to the new Common Core assessments please go to this link:  http://www.engageny.org/sites/default/files/resource/attachments/ccsstimeline.pdf

Besides these assessments, there is discussion of additional requirements for high school graduation.  As the NYSED releases information to schools, I will try to provide you with those updates that will affect your son’s/daughter’s learning experience in school.