30 Jan

Common Core Standards in Colorado

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of educational standards that ensure every students, beginning from K-12, are well prepared in mathematics and English language for college, and equipped with the right skills to meet with the high demands of the work place globally. With the adoption and implementation of these standards, graduates will be able to compete with their counterparts from other parts of the world. Common Core State Standards increase accuracy in schools and provide the students with all they need to know after graduating from high school. Currently, 45 out of the states in the US, the District of Colombia, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoan Islands, and the Anchorage, AK School District have adopted the Common Core State Standards. These Common Core initiative is led by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA), in partnership with teachers, higher learning experts, educational organizations, and researchers from several places within the country.

The Common Core standards are grouped into two categories which include the K-12 standards that address the different grade level expectation of every student in the learning process; and the college and career readiness standards that equip student with the basic skills needed for college or career. One of the benefits of these standards include ensuring all students become proficient when it comes to reading English language and mathematics, before the school calendar year runs out.


In August 2010, the Colorado State Board of Education adopted the standards. When publishing the Colorado Academic Standards for Writing and Communicating, Mathematics and Reading in December 2010, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) also included the entire Common Core State Standards. Despite the inclusion of the CCSS, the CDE still maintain its Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) which include preschool expectations, 21st century skills, personal financial literacy and knowledgeable and highly skilled graduates.


  • Just like the Colorado Academic Standards, the CCSS is an internationally benchmarked standard that prepare every students to become successful and take on the challenges in our global economy and society. These standards are likened to those found in top performing countries around the world.
  • The CCSS is designed with principles and instructional shifts that is matched with the priorities and intent of Colorado Achievement Plan For Kids (CAP4K) to offer a coherent set of expectation, identify skills students’ need to meet with the challenges of college, while also ensuring that student will be workforce ready.
  • The Common Core standards provide consistent learning target in a mobile society for each grade level. It also help create stability across county and states, especially for students who relocate from one place to the other, due to economic and personal reasons


  • These shared standard brings a solution to the increased demand for higher quality instructional resources. Through collaborative efforts among states, teachers and students in Colorado benefit immensely from the high-quality educational materials designed specifically to be in line with the shared standards, rather than having to utilize instructional materials designed for a bigger market.
  • With the use of the same standard across the country, collaboration will be enhanced. Teachers in Colorado can now collaborate with other states that shares the same standard in designing common resources that will further enhance learning. It will also improve the efficiency of teachers and the quality of learning tools
  • The CCSS is also designed to enhance the ability and improve the skills of teachers and students, as it requires them to use of a wealth of online tools and resources. Students in Colorado will be acquainted with a wide-range of online learning tools, making the learning process easy and fun. Some of the devices used in classrooms to facilitate the learning process include software, iPads, laptops and the internet. These tools are used in Common Core lessons to achieve educational objective of preparing the students for college life and workplace. The Common Core standards offers students the opportunity to have access to the same rigorous learning process and academic content, regardless of their location. With the use of technological advanced learning materials in Colorado classrooms, students’ academic performance will be improved and can also be measured across participating states.

These standards are evidence based and field tested to provide a solid foundation in preparing students in Colorado schools for the future. Designed using the highest international standards, the CCSS will take Colorado Academic Standards to the next level.

Education standards often vary from state to state. Many at times, teachers find it difficult to implement these standards in the classroom, and it can also be overwhelming for parents to support their child’s learning at home. Since the adoption of the new Common Core State Standards in Colorado, teachers and parents can assist a child achieve his or her goals in their classroom and at home. Before the introduction of the Common Core standards, the quality of education varies depending on the location, and this might be difficult for families who are highly mobile, especially military families. States with high-performing standards have students that pass all the basic test and graduating, yet unable to meet the requirements of college and workplace. For this reason, the college and career ready standards of the CCSS are very important factors that help students graduate with the basic skills and get them ready for college and the economy. Every student in Colorado need rigorous academics to become graduates that can compete with their colleagues not only in the next state, but also with those from the world all over. The new assessment tests in Colorado, including the Colorado Measures of Academic Success or CMAS and PARCC assessments, will begin in the Spring of 2015.

The goal of the Common Core State Standards is to ensure an excellent education for students across the country, regardless of where they reside. These standards help students improve their reading level to what they will experience in post-secondary and career. Specialized instructional staff and teachers are saddled with the responsibility to deliver high-quality, individualized instruction, and evidence-based services, using assistive technology devices.

27 Jan

How Common Core Has Changed Education in Arkansas

The Common Core standards help in ensuring that students are better equipped with the basic skills and knowledge to prepare them for postsecondary education and life in general. Graduates from Arkansas schools compete with students from around the world for employment opportunities. To be able to meet with the demands of college and the working environment, Common Core has been introduced to provide students with the critical thinking and problem solving skills they’ll need to become successful in life.   As students in grades 3 through 8 begin a new school year, teachers are set to ensure an improvement in their academic achievements.

Arkansas officially adopted the standards in 2010. The Common Core initiatives are the latest step in Arkansas to improve educational standards. These standards are state-led efforts that ensures the skills and knowledge required for real-world success are taught in schools. With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards in Arkansas schools, teachers are becoming more effective and efficient.

Knowledge and skills enhancement

Most graduates are not equipped with the basic knowledge and skills to succeed in college or enter the work force. These standards provide supports for teachers in ensuring that all students, regardless of their location, will graduate with the necessary skills and prepare them for college and citizenship.

Enhances Cross Curricular Learning

These standards has made teachers learn new methods of teaching and ensure students learn more about other subject areas. It’s all about integrating these subjects with other disciplines such as English and Literacy, or science, social studies and math. The Common Core standards are designed to promote cross-curricular learning. It offers teachers the chance to share ideas with colleagues in different classrooms.

Provision of quality resource tools

The Common Core standards has made provision for a wealth of online tools and resources for teachers. These tools will enhance the learning process and also allow for proper implementation of the standards. Arkansas teachers and will be able to benefit from and have good knowledge of the wide-range of teaching resources. Some of the highly advanced tools that may be used in a variety of setting include software, internet, iPads and education headphones. For instance, many districts that have adopted the Common Core, including Arkansas, make use of technological devices such as laptops and tablets in classrooms. These computer based programs taught in common core lessons makes the use of headphones very important to complete several online tests that incorporate videos.

Increased accuracy for students in Arkansas

Ever since the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, there has been an increase in the level of academic accuracy. The use of technology and authenticity of lessons has brought an improved performance in students’ academic achievements.

Comparing schools test

These standards compare the performance of students in schools, across several states in the country based on their test results. Before the initiative, results cannot be compared beyond the borders of Arkansas. The assessment is done using the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data.



20 Jan

PARCC: What You Need to Know

PARCC, or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is a group currently consisting of 13 states joined together to produce assessments on par with the Common Core State Standards to judge if students are on track to pursuing eventual successful results in both college and their future careers. Like most major exams given by colleges, the PARCC is entirely computer-based. Unlike higher exams, it is built for grades K-12. Once taken, the teacher is immediately alerted to each child’s progress and problem areas, allowing for a more fluid approach to teaching core concepts.



Originally launched during the 2010-11 school year, Arkansas, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island have been working together to develop it into a fully formed test that officially launched this 2014-15 year. In addition, Pennsylvania is noted as a “participating” state since it has not officially decided to use the assessment but has a vested interest in developing a strong product. Altogether, this covers no less than 12 million public schools throughout America. With the combined efforts of so many supervisors and teachers, they are able to continually craft and change an assessment that holds children to the higher standards required by the world at large to achieve success.

Good and Bad

While created with only the best intentions in mind, it would be unfair to assume such a new program has gone off entirely without any form of negative feedback. The largest hurdle is, understandably, trying to change the public’s view that this is more than just wasted resources put toward yet another “standardized test” that will fail to do what is intended. Like most of its kind, it is limited in what information it reveals about the students. Tests, after all, cannot truly determine if the students both understand the subject and know how to apply it to external stimuli. In addition, what of those students who are hampered by their home life? Not every child can or will be intellectually superior, and it’s time to stop treating that fact as a negative. On the other hand, it is the first test of its kind to provide teachers with up-to-date information in regards to where their students need help. Instead of forcing standardized curriculums on every class no matter its make-up, it bolsters a teacher’s ability to adapt lessons to their current situation. Some classes will be much better at math while others will have trouble. Why punish either through a static curriculum?

For the Parents

If you still find yourself worried about the test, the PARCC website offers you not only a comprehensive FAQ section but a sample test in the format it is administered to the students. Each grade level has a set number of examples covering both math and English to give you an in depth sense of what your student will be undergoing on a regular basis. If you still need more information, join their Facebook group either through their website or Facebook’s. This will provide you with recent articles in addition to keeping you informed about test dates.

The Future is Still Unwritten

PARCC is shaping up to be the integration of standardized testing and technology. Because of this, it’s not entirely fair to refer to it as such. Instead of being a once a year frustration for students, teachers and parents alike, this new evolution of testing is set to keep everyone on track throughout the course of the year under the idea that better progress can be made in smaller increments. While the idea certainly holds promise, there remain a vast array of those decrying it as yet another way to stifle students that are already excelling or putting undue pressure on those that flounder. If history has taught us anything, however, is that you can’t force a child to succeed any more than you can force one to fail.

17 Jan

Common Core Not a Sure Thing in Maine

Three years after its adoption in 2011, the fate of the Common Core standards is still uncertain in Maine. Designed as a federal means to track the entire country’s academic progress, not everyone is on board with its ultimate goal.

The Common Core

Tracking progress of students from Kindergarten to 12th grade, Common Core is a national standards system, regulating the subjects of math and English language arts across the country. Adopted by many states in 2011, there are now 43 that still adhere to it, with other states, like Indiana and Oklahoma, deciding to drop it after a time. The soul of the idea is very similar to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 in that by implementing nationwide standards, all students will be better prepared to take on the rigors of college and, indeed, get into better colleges no matter where they are from. Every year the students are tested on the benchmark knowledge to ensure they have mastered the tools necessary to succeed in the subsequent years where that knowledge is then expanded upon.

For the Core

The biggest push for Maine to adopt the plan was the financial help from the $4.35 billion Race to the Top competition sponsored by the Obama administration. Even still, a comparison by Fordham Institute shows that Maine’s curriculum was below that of Common Core. Their English earned a B+ while math only got a C. The biggest issues cited with Maine’s educational track was its neglect of important concepts all throughout the high school curriculum. In addition, many teachers see the standards as a wonderful way to clarify expectations so to better prepare students for the higher levels of academia. It holds everyone accountable, and even though some would say it only puts undue strain on the littlest ones, teachers are finding them more than ready to take on and succeed at a more challenging level.

Against Adoption

Yet all that glitters is not gold. Common Core has riled up for more dissenters over the past few years, even though its adoption in 2011 was unanimous. Among the loudest is No Common Core Maine, a group gathering signatures to force a referendum that would get rid of Common Core. One of their tenants is that Common Core is corporatized and otherwise invites the government and big business to impede on states’ rights. As of now, however, this petition is still trying to get enough support. The teachers speaking out against it have the growing concern that obsession of hitting federally ascribed markers will only dilute the quality of education the students are receiving. Because they must spend so much time teaching only the Common Core standards, other critical bits of information are being glossed over entirely. Governor LePage has even recently spoken out against the system, citing Massachusetts’ adoption and subsequent fall from grace as the previously top ranked school system in the nation.

Maine’s adoption of Common Core has done nothing but spark healthy debate over the legitimacy of the government’s extension of power over state school systems. Though the program is still in its infancy and far from structurally sound, the idea it presents is an important one to consider. Right now, states determine their own standards. While this has led to incredible feats of academia in various systems around the country, many of the forgotten schools fall far behind in terms of preparation for the best colleges. Some say remedying this is only possible if all systems are united while others rightfully argue such a move would stifle potential for success. Whatever the outcome is, Maine is a key player in molding the future of schools.

07 Jan

Arizona: In Control with Common Core

Common Core has shaped the educational policies of nearly every school Arizona, since it was first brought up for discussion. Between the goals of improving educational access, and raising standards across the board, Common Core has proven to be one of the most effective quasi-Federal initiatives put forward since No Child Left Behind.

A consequence of this has been the shifting in equipment made available for purchase and use in Arizona classrooms. Tools, textbooks, and instruction guides are all geared towards handling these national standards. Here are some of the things that Common Core has changed, regardless of whether or not the local area has implemented the changes.

Educational Aides are now cheaper, and more thought out.

School headphones were first utilized in hearing tests several decades ago. As educators experimented in the use of recordings in the classroom, the uses of these industrial strength headphones grew.

Thanks to the emphasis on obtaining quality education for all students, regardless of disability, lessons have been formed to help every sort of learner reach their highest potential. School headphones are now used in nearly every subject, personalizing the lesson to the student in a way that does not distract the rest of the class.

Textbooks are now more geared to a national setting

For a long period, Texas controlled the textbooks used in this nation due to their large budget. With national standards dictated by educators in numerous states, this power has been broken. Teachers in Arizona no longer have to fear what one elected official from another state can do to their curriculum. Emphasis is now placed on actual proven content, rather than the political machinations of a select few from towns few have heard of. Since standards can be raised above the minimums, educational policy is now back in the hands of the people of Arizona, rather than other states with larger budgets.