R-7 Common Core FAQ

Common Core State Standards

What are the Common Core State Standards?

The Common Core State Standards are clear, consistent guidelines for what every kindergarten through 12th grade student should know and be able to do in mathematics and English language arts.

Where did the Common Core State Standards originate?

The Common Core State Standards originated with governors and state education commissioners through their membership in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

Why were the Common Core State Standards developed?

The Common Core State Standards were developed to ensure students graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills they need for success in college, other postsecondary training and careers, regardless of the state, city or district in which they reside. They are benchmarked to top-performing nations around the world, ensuring that students are well-prepared to compete not only with their peers at home, but also around the world.

Who developed the Common Core State Standards?

A diverse team of teachers, parents, administrators, researchers and educational experts designed the Common Core State Standards, including representatives from Missouri. The team was charged with developing standards that reflect the best current thinking in education.

Was the process for developing Common Core State Standards different than other standard development processes?

No. Standards have always guided the development of curriculum. Historically, in Missouri, standards have been developed by educators, administrators, teachers, business representatives, and parents, following a study of the most recent and relevant research. The Common Core State Standards were developed following the same process. The primary difference was in the membership of the team. The Common Core Standards team had members from a variety of states.

Are the Common Core State Standards a national curriculum?

No. The Common Core State Standards are not a curriculum. They are expectations, serving as a guide for curriculum. Local school districts have the authority to decide how the Common Core State Standards are met.

What is curriculum?

The locally developed Lee’s Summit R-7 curriculum includes Essential Standards and Learning Targets, supported by:

  • Units of study
  • Instructional timeline
  • Instructional resources – textbooks, etc.
  • Instructional activities
  • Assessments

What subject areas are included in the Common Core State Standards?

The Common Core State Standards include mathematics and English language arts.

What grade levels are included in the Common Core State Standards?

The Common Core State Standards include kindergarten through 12th grade.

What is emphasized in the English language arts Common Core State Standards?

The English language arts Common Core State Standards require increased critical thinking and analysis skills, designed to equip students with the sophisticated literacy and communication skills necessary for success in the Information Age. Specific shifts include an increased emphasis on reading and analyzing informational/nonfiction texts; the use of more complex reading materials to bridge the gap between K-12 reading and post-secondary reading; argumentative/opinion writing; and the use of text-based evidence to support thinking.

What is emphasized in the mathematics Common Core State Standards?

The mathematics Common Core State Standards emphasizes conceptual understanding, skill, and fluency. The standards require students to master math concepts earlier in their academic careers. In addition, they require students to understand how to apply math concepts to solve unfamiliar problems. The standards connect learning across grade levels and courses to build on mathematical understanding. Specific shifts include learning math facts and other concepts at earlier ages and moving from “we’ve always done it this way” to a focus on understanding and applying rules to different situations. The underlying assumption of the team that created the Common Core State Standards is that students who can explain their mathematical thinking and why the rules work will be more successful at critical thinking and problem solving.

Do the Common Core State Standards direct teachers to use certain instructional methods?

No. The Common Core State Standards do not direct instructional methodology or how to teach. Standards identify what students should know and be able to do to demonstrate their knowledge and skills at specific grade levels. Lee’s Summit R-7 teachers are very skillful in using the many methods and strategies available to them.

Did R-7 start the most current curriculum review process because of the Common Core State Standards?

No. R-7 has always had a curriculum review and revision process. In 2010, the district committed to an initiative initially focusing on balancing the use of assessments in the classroom. It quickly grew into a comprehensive instructional initiative with four major components: curriculum, assessments, instruction, and student ownership of their learning.   The current curriculum review process began in 2011 and spanned 72 courses from 13 subject areas. All curricular areas are addressed and included English language arts and mathematics. Subsequently another phase of courses is under review and revision.

How did the Common Core State Standards impact the curriculum review process?

Initially, teacher teams surveyed a variety of national, state and local standards. Mathematics and English language arts teacher teams also reviewed the Common Core State Standards. When sample test items from the newly developed Next Generation Assessments (new MAP tests) were released in 2012, a greater level of rigor and detail was revealed. Mathematics and English language arts teams revisited the Common Core State Standards to ensure a strong alignment to the district curriculum.

What would the R-7 district do if Common Core State Standards were revoked?

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District would continue to meet our mission of “preparing each student for success in life” by providing a rigorous and relevant curriculum in all courses and at all grade levels.

What are the Missouri Learning Standards?

The Missouri Learning Standards define the knowledge and skills students need in each grade level. They are inclusive of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics as well as grade level and course-based standards in all other content areas.

Where can I find the Common Core State Standards?

You can find and read the Common Core State Standards at www.corestandards.org.

How will the Common Core State Standards be assessed?

In 2014-15, all English language arts and mathematics state assessments will be Common Core State Standards aligned.

Which English language arts and mathematics tests will be administered in Missouri?

Each state was requested to become a member of a larger consortium. Missouri joined the SMARTER Balanced Consortium. Grades 5 and 8 will complete on-line assessments provided by the SMARTER Balanced Consortium. Grades 3, 4, 6, and 7 will take a short survey version of SMARTER Balanced Assessments. High School will be assessed via End-of-Course Exams.

How will English language arts and mathematics be assessed locally?

All curricula, including English language arts and mathematics which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, are assessed periodically throughout the course using District Summative Assessments that were developed locally by R-7 teachers to monitor student mastery of curriculum.

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