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About Common Core Standards

In August 2010, California joined a national movement to adopt Common Core State Standards (CCSS), a set of common standards and assessments for English language arts and mathematics developed by The Council of Chief State Officers and the National Governors Association. These standards provide a clear vision for what students should know to meet college and work expectations for the 21st century. Informed in part by educational practices and research from top performing countries, Common Core includes rigorous content and the application of higher knowledge thinking.


CCS and Mathematics

California’s adaptation of CCS builds on existing mathematics standards, outlining content standards by grade level or course. More importantly, however, CCSS also includes a set of practices called The Standards for Mathematical Practice. These practices rest on important “processes and proficiencies” including problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation, and making connections. These practices deepen student understanding, allowing them to apply mathematics with confidence. They include the ability to:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  • Model with mathematics, i.e. apply mathematics to problems in everyday life
  • Use appropriate tools strategically.
  • Be precise, i.e. calculate accurately and effectively
  • Look for and make use of structure, i.e. discern patterns and shift perspective.


CCS English Language Arts

Reading The standards establish a “staircase” of increasing complexity to prepare students for the demands of college- and career-level reading. They also require progressive development of reading comprehension so that students gain more from their reading as they advance through school. The standards mandate certain critical types of content including classic myths and stories from around the world, foundational U.S. documents, seminal works of American literature, and the writings of Shakespeare.  This course of classic literature, contemporary works and informational texts builds knowledge, allowing students to gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspective.

Writing The ability to write logical arguments based on substantive claims, sound reasoning, and relevant evidence is a cornerstone of the CCSS writing standards. The standards include opinion writing—a basic form of argument—starting at the earliest grades. Research is emphasized throughout the standards but most prominently in the writing strand where written analysis and presentation of findings is so often critical.

Speaking and Listening The standards require that students gain, evaluate, and present increasingly complex information, ideas, and evidence through listening and speaking as well as through media.  The speaking standards also include collaboration between students in both formal and informal one-on-one, small-group, and whole-class discussion, during which students work to answer questions, build understanding, and solve problems.

Language The standards support vocabulary development through a mix of conversation, direct instruction and reading.

Media and Technology Multimedia skills for both critical analysis and production are integrated throughout the standards.


Resources for Learning More

California Common Core Standards Parent Handbook A simple, easy to read document that outlines mathematics and English language arts standards by grade for kindergarten though the 8th grade.

Common Core State Standards Initiative  Includes an outline of the standards as developed by the National Governors' Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and many resources for learning more about the standards and their development.

California Common Core Standards  A comprehensive resource of California's version of the Common Core State Standards, along with the State's implementation plan and information for parents and guardians, teachers and administrators.


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