The Common Core is a set of expectations for what students should know and be able to do in math and English at each grade level. It was developed by teachers, math and language experts and others in an effort organized by state school chiefs and governors.
Ohio is one of 45 states that have fully adopted the Common Core. (Ohio’s state Board of Education adopted the new standards in June 2010.) The District of Columbia has also adopted the Common Core. One other state – Minnesota — has adopted only the English language arts standards. The states that are not participating are Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia.
Promising to use the Common Core helped some states, including Ohio, win federal Race to the Top education grants. Ohio expects all schools to be teaching these new standards by fall 2013.
The Common Core is better than what Ohio teachers are supposed to be teaching in math and English today, the Fordham Institute says. The group gives Ohio’s current English language arts standards a “C” and the Common Core English standards a “B+.” Ohio’s current math standards get a “C” and the Common Core’s an “A-.”
All the states that adopted the Common Core are are also planning to also switch their state testing systems. These new tests will be given on computers rather than on paper and will replace current state math and English language arts tests.
There are two groups that are developing these new, Common Core tests: the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Ohio is a member of PARCC and sits on the group’s governing board.
Common Core Timeline
This timeline shows how Ohio came to adopt the Common Core and plans to implement it.
1994 Clinton administration-backed laws (Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the Improving America’s Schools Act) require states to set standards and 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 Common Core standards 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 the 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 the English language arts standards.
2011-12 School Year Development of new standardized tests tied to the Common Core standards begins. The effort is led by two consortia of states, PARCC and Smarter Balanced. The groups will share $360 million in federal grants to develop the new tests. Ohio is a member of PARCC.
2012-13 School Year PARCC and Smarter Balanced begin pilot testing of new standardized tests.
2013-14 School Year Field testing to continue for new standardized tests. In Ohio, the Common Core standards should be fully implemented for all grade levels.
2014-15 School Year All participating states to begin using new standardized tests for math and English language arts. The new tests will replace tests that had previously been used in each state.
Summer 2015 Ohio to set performance standards for the new tests.