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Your Essential Guide To The Common Core

Background

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John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Common Core is math, language arts and literacy standards fully adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia.

The standards outline what students should know at the end of each grade.

Minnesota state adopted one of the sets of standards but not the other. And Indiana adopted Common Core, but then repealed the standards.

The new standards will likely mean new textbooks and classroom materials. Florida has adopted a new statewide test, developed by the American Institutes for Research. Other states have chosen to use exams from the multi-state groups Smarter Balanced and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

The standards set expectations for student achievement at each grade level. They also require students to show they understand what they’ve learned.

The goal is more students graduate ready for college or a career. The standards emphasize reading and requiring students to defend their work with evidence.

The Florida Department of Education added calculus, cursive writing and made a handful of other changes to the standards in 2014. They renamed them the Florida Standards, but the standards do not substantially differ from Common Core.

Florida is phasing in the new standards over several years. Full implementation is scheduled for the 2014-15 academic year.

Got questions about the Common Core? Visit our Core Questions page for information on how to get them answered.

COMMON CORE TIMELINE

1983 A commission established by President Reagan publishes “A Nation at Risk.” The report calls for setting standards for what students should know and be able to do and marks the starting point of “standards-based” education reform. The movement calls for setting standards for what students should learn and monitoring whether they are learning through standardized tests. In the following years, states move to adopt standards, pushed along by federal legislation. Teachers groups also publish model standards of their own.

1994 A series of Clinton administration-backed laws (Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the Improving America’s Schools Act) requires states to set standards and set up corresponding tests.

1996 At the 1996 National Education Summit, governors and business leaders pledge to work together to raise standards and achievement in public schools. Achieve, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group which will become instrumental in the creation of the Common Core, is founded.

2001 President Bush signs the No Child Left Behind Act which strengthens requirements for the kinds of standards states must set and requires states to test students in specific grades and subjects. However, states are still free to set their own standards and create their own tests.

2008 The National Governors Association, state education commissioners and other groups begin organizing development of common standards in math and English language arts for grades K-12.

2009 Governors and state education commissioners from 48 states plus the District of Columbia commit to developing the Common Core standards. Only Alaska and Texas do not join the effort.

February, 2010 Kentucky adopts the Common Core standards before they’ve been publicly released, making it the first state to adopt them.

March 10, 2010 First draft of the standards are released to the public for comment.

June 2, 2010 Final Common Core standards released for states to adopt or reject.

August 2, 2010 California adopts Common Core standards on the day federal officials set as deadline for states to apply for federal funds through the Race to the Top program. In the competition, states get extra points for having adopted the common core standards.

November 4, 2011 Montana becomes the 46th (and final) state to adopt the Common Core standards. Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia are the four that did not; Minnesota did not adopt the math standards but did adopt core standards for English language arts.

2011-12 School Year Development of new standardized tests tied to the Common Core standards begins. The effort is led by two consortiums of states, known as PARCC and Smarter Balanced, which share $360 million in federal grants to develop the new tests.

2012-13 School Year PARCC and Smarter Balanced begin pilot testing of new standardized tests.

2013-14 School Year Field testing continues for new standardized tests.

2014-15 School Year All participating states begin using new standardized tests for math and English language arts. The tests replace tests that had previously been in use in each state.

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