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Common Core State Standards for School Leaders
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) supporting school leaders in helping all students become college and career-ready
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Common Core Standards: Test performance is driven by text rather than questions

So why is the common core making such a big deal out of having kids read hard text?  

 

Because...

 

"Test performance is driven by text rather than questions."

 

In Reading: Between the Lines, ACT demonstrates that student performance cannot be differentiated in any meaningful way by question type. Students do not perform differently if they are answering literal recall items or inferential items (or other question types like main idea or vocabulary, either).

 

Test performance, according to ACT, is driven by text rather than questions. Thus, if students are asked to read a hard passage, they may only answer a few questions correctly, no matter what types of questions they may be. On the other hand, with an easy enough text, students may answer almost any questions right, again with no differences by question type.

 

 

Dr. Tim Shanahan, a member of the CCSS development team, has some particularly interesting insights into the thinking behind the standards. In the video above, watch him speak about the shift from a skills-focused approach in state standards to the emphasis on complex text in the Common Core State Standards.

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Common Core Creates Uncertain Testing Landscape

Common Core Creates Uncertain Testing Landscape | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

via Education Daily

December 12, 2011

 

Education policy analysts in a recent report on high school exit exams questioned what the future of high school assessment policies will look like when a new assessment system tied to the Common Core State Standards is put in place in SY 2014-15.

 

Several states have expressed plans to replace their current math and English/language arts exit exams with tests developed by two state consortia, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium.

 

Analysts said uncertainty lies ahead for high school testing policies, as states decide how adoption of uniform assessments might impact current state requirements. “With a state assessment that measures students’ college- and career-readiness, as both the PARCC and SMARTER Balanced assessments intend to do, will there be a need for mandated ACT and SAT testing or for existing college and career readiness assessment policies?,” they wrote. “In other words, can states, or will states, eliminate or consolidate their assessment policies in order to streamline their assessments system tied to the [Common Core]?”

 

According to State High School Tests: Changes in State Policies and the Impact of the College and Career Readiness Movement, 27 of the 31 states with current or planned exit exams reported participating in one or both of these state consortia to develop common assessments that are aligned to new benchmarks.

 

At least 16 out of the 27 states plan to replace their current exams with consortia assessments, and at least 16 states — though not necessarily the same ones — also expect the new assessments to be “more rigorous” than their current tests, the paper noted. Delaware was the only state responding that new assessments would be “about the same as” their current assessments, and Arkansas predicted they would be “no less rigorous,” it said.

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Common Core: N.Y.C. on the right track: Don't get discouraged by most recent NAEP scores 

Common Core: N.Y.C. on the right track: Don't get discouraged by most recent NAEP scores  | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

"The new Common Core Standards that promise to significantly enhance the academic rigor seen in American classrooms." Mike Casserly, Council of Great City Schools.

 

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Three Ways States Can Support Instruction and Common Core Implementation

No matter where you live, chances are it’s a Common Core state. In total, 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core and are developing plans to implement those standards over the next several years. While much of the work around implementation is taking place behind the closed doors of state education departments, the state Race to the Top applications and the more recent ESEA waivers provide a window into where states are prioritizing their time and focusing their resources. Not surprisingly, all states have some kind of plan to align curriculum, assessment, and professional development around these new standards. But it’s far from certain whether most states will get it right.
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Choking on the Common Core Standards

Choking on the Common Core Standards | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

"Many things that are commonplace activities for adults — driving, voting, and paying taxes, for example — are not appropriate for children. I count the Common Core State Standards, proposed for all our country’s public schools, among them.

 

Over my more than 50 years in public education I’ve come to know young children pretty well, and I am sure that 8-9 years olds are not ready to “describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect,” as decreed by one of the standards for third-grade readers of informational text."

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Common Core: School leaders worry about transition to a new, more rigorous curriculum

Common Core: School leaders worry about transition to a new, more rigorous curriculum | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

The three-year transition to a more challenging K-12 curriculum in math and English language arts has just begun, but some school officials worry the state isn't moving fast enough.

 

The Common Core Standards will:

 

1. be more rigorous

 

2. demand higher-order thinking

 

3. introduce some concepts at an earlier age.

 

4. Allow for interstate comparisons.

 

- "South Dakota will get its best look yet at how its students stack up against much of the rest of the country."

 

"An investment we can't affort not to fund."

 

- Harrisburg Superintendent Jim Holbeck said teachers will need a lot of time to align their lessons to Common Core. That’s going to require professional development during the summer, he said, and teachers will have to be paid for that time.

“This is an investment we can’t afford not to fund,” he said.

But for now, school districts are planning to bear much of the costs on their own.

 

Transition creates gaps in instruction


- The tricky thing about moving to Common Core will be the transition years.

 

- When the new standards are implemented and a key math concept moves from second grade to first grade, what happens to that year’s second-graders?

 

- "Gap Map" - In Sioux Falls, committees of educators are assembling a “gap map,” which will identify the lessons students will miss if nothing is done. Next, they’ll create mini-units for the affected teachers to use during the transition.

 

Testing Challenges

 

Testing students during the transition presents its own challenges.

South Dakota is part of a 30-state consortium developing new assessments they hope will be ready for 2015. In the interim, students will continue to take the Dakota-STEP.

 

That means that until at least 2014, students will be tested and schools held accountable based on the state’s old math standards. But many school districts will have the new standards in place well before then.

 

The state will embed the Dakota-STEP with 20 questions from Common Core, but those questions will not count for school accountability.

 

“Even though Dakota-STEP will continue to be administered right up until 2015, teachers will be teaching the new K-12 Common Core state math standards starting next year in 2012,” McAdaragh said.

 

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Common Core: Survey of CCSS States Inspires Conversation via Teachability

"With change often comes trepidation and there seems to be plenty of that in regards to implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Within the last week, I’ve linked to an article claiming the standards aren’t rigorous enough, another in which officials were worried they would prove to be too tough (a more common theme), as well as one filled with concern about online assessments. As you probably know, the conversation doesn’t end there."

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Myths about the Common Core Standards: Myth #3 Standards do not dictate curricula

Myths about the Common Core Standards: Myth #3 Standards do not dictate curricula | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

Myth 3: The Common Core standards do not dictate the curriculum. States are free to define their own curricula based on the Common Core.

 

While it is technically true that the national standards don’t dictate curriculum by themselves, they are the foundation for national tests already being prepared by federally-funded assessment consortia—and, once institutionalized, the national tests will necessarily force the creation of a national curriculum.

 

"One impact I am sure of: Governance of our schools will shift to Washington. And it won’t come back any time soon. Mr. Duncan’s office will function much more as European Ministries of Education. Perhaps it will be like the French system of which the late President Mitterand once boasted that at any minute during the day he knew precisely what French students, whether in Paris or some rural hamlet in Brittany, were learning."

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Common Core may bring changes in middle school schedule

The Howard County (MD) school system is considering major changes to its middle school class schedule that include discontinuing reading as a stand-alone subject for most students, school officials said.

 

In addition, the school day might be reduced from eight instruction periods to seven 50-minute periods, with physical education classes held every other day.

 

In Howard County, reading would be a part of all middle-school subjects, and students who are performing below grade level would receive additional support that could include a stand-alone reading course, school officials said.

 

"I believe that in the 1990s, the decision was made for Howard County middle schools to have a separate reading class," Wise added. "That has served us very well in the past. But now, with the common core and the emphasis on college and career readiness, we want to move further to make sure that our students have the critical thinking skills and that they are able to read and comprehend and write like a historian or a scientist or a musician within those specific content fields."

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CCSS-Commended school struggles with Common Core aligned tests. "A sobering score card>"

CCSS-Commended school struggles with Common Core aligned tests. "A sobering score card>" | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

"In a meeting with parents Monday at Perez Elementary School on the city's West Side, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard saw how even the best CPS schools will struggle to measure up when the district adopts a more rigorous curriculum (Common Core State Standards) next school year."

 

School was commended for performance has one one-quarter at or above grade level in reading.

 

- This year, Perez, a predominantly Hispanic school in the Pilsen neighborhood, is among the first CPS schools to implement the tougher Common Core curriculum, a national initiative to improve student comprehension and analysis in core subjects such as math and reading. The early returns aren't good.

Perez's performance on the Illinois Standard Achievement Test and other benchmarks last year earned an elite Level 1 ranking from CPS. But barely one-third of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Perez scored at or above their grade levels in reading and slightly more than one-third did so in math on testing aligned with Common Core.

 

Little more than one-quarter of Perez's sixth- and eighth-graders were at or above their grade level in reading.

 

"At first it's a shock, it's a shock to anyone who sees it," said Perez Principal Vicky Kleros. "It's really a sobering score card."

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Common Core: Assessment Consortium (PARCC) Releases Final Content Frameworks - Education Week

Common Core: Assessment Consortium (PARCC) Releases Final Content Frameworks - Education Week | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, has released its final content frameworks for the common standards. And the newsiest thing about the document is this: The consortium is going to create content frameworks for grades K-2.

 

- the frameworks are an attempt to capture the key ideas in the common standards to guide curriculum developers, teachers, and test developers.

 

- The "content specifications" issued by the other assessment group, the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC... are a bit different from PARCC's content frameworks

 

- both documents begin to put some meat on the bones of the two groups' visions of the tests they are working on.

 

More Guidance for Math

 

- PARCC also attempts to offer more specifics to guide creation of math courses at the high school level, an area it admits has been "challenging." They don't come right out and say it here, but one of the challenges is political: taking steps toward more specificity while steering clear of dictating curriculum.

 

Literacy

 

Grade 12 - On the literacy side of the house, PARCC said it got a lot of requests for content frameworks for grade 12. It won't do that, but it will—as it has said all along—create "bridge courses" that will beef up seniors' readiness for college.

 

- balancing areas of emphasis and being clear about intent.

 

- Clarify emphasis on "close reading" of text and the importance of students being able to move between multiple texts and across disciplines.

 

My note: According to PARCC's published timeline, they are right on schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

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Argumentative Writing is a Key Focus in Common Core Standards | Edutopia

Argumentative Writing is a Key Focus in Common Core Standards | Edutopia | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

Due to a comment by a follower, I changed the title of this scoopit. 

 

"While the article is accurate, the title is misleading. In fact, David Coleman, one of the key authors of the standards, has repeatedly stressed that argumentative writing replaces persuasive writing. A more appropriate title would be: Shift to ARGUMENTATIVE Writing is a Key Focus in the Common Core."

 

"This is not merely a matter of semantics. I am doing extensive work with schools to prepare teachers to understand the fundamental shifts, and most are highly surprised at this particular shift. Given that many will glance over the title and run with the information, this error is egregious and holds potential to gravely mislead."

 

---

 

Across the Curriculum


"If you look through the Common Core Standards, you'll see words peppered all over the place that point to persuasive writing: interpret, argument, analyze. The focus isn't to provide evidence as the sole means to prove, but rather to make an argument and bring in evidence that one must then justify through argumentation.

 

For instance, rather than merely solving a math problem, the equation serving as the answer in itself, and moving on to the next question, there is a possibility that persuasive writing will come into play that has the student selecting what formula to use, making an argument, and using the computations as evidence to back up that argument.

 

In my department, English Language Arts, we are already spinning Literary Analysis into a literary persuasive composition in order to address the future of this more meaningful writing. Rather than teach two compartmentalized writing genres, doesn't it make more sense to blend the two and have the student convince the reader of the theme or the character change or the author's intent? It comes at analysis from a different, more authentic angle."

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mike's comment, November 7, 2011 10:37 AM
While the article is accurate, the title is misleading. In fact, David Coleman, one of the key authors of the standards, has repeatedly stressed that argumentative writing replaces persuasive writing. A more appropriate title would be: Shift to ARGUMENTATIVE Writing is a Key Focus in the Common Core.

This is not merely a matter of semantics. I am doing extensive work with schools to prepare teachers to understand the fundamental shifts, and most are highly surprised at this particular shift. Given that many will glance over the title and run with the information, this error is egregious and holds potential to gravely mislead.
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New Look at Past Test Results Shows Students Performed Poorly

New Look at Past Test Results Shows Students Performed Poorly | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

Is this a harbinger of things to come? Will the implementation of the Common Core State Standards result in even lower pass rates?

 

"A look at old test results is providing a troubling glimpse into just how poorly Michigan students have done on state exams."

 

"Just about a quarter of students in grades 8 and 11 would have passed."

 

"The Michigan Department of Education released the last four year's worth of results from the high school Michigan Merit Exam and the elementary and middle school Michigan Educational Assessment Program exam, but with a twist.


They applied tough new standards for passing the exams—standards that were adopted by the State Board of Education in September—to the old results. Under the new system, students must answer substantially more questions correct in order to pass."

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Text Types and the Common Core Standards via NYT

Text Types and the Common Core Standards via NYT | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

Compare-Contrast, Cause-Effect, Problem-Solution: Common 'Text Types' in The Times

 

Suggestions for helping students understand common expository "text structures" like cause and effect, compare and contrast and problem-solution that appear often in The Times.

 

How does a bad economy affect businesses like Phoenix Decorating in Pasadena? We’re using this and other articles as models of writing about cause and effect. Go to related article » http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/28/us/rose-parade-new-years-ritual-faces-rough-times.html

 

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States Shift To College- and Career-Readiness Tests

States Shift To College- and Career-Readiness Tests | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

Center on Education Policy via Huffington Post

12/9/11

 

"Fewer states are requiring students to pass high school exit exams to graduate, but more states are increasing standardized testing in college- and career-readiness assessment efforts, according to a report released Thursday."

 

The report by the Center on Education Policy reveals that in the 2010-11 school year:

 

- Fewer Barrier Exams - 25 states have or plan to implement policies that require students to pass end-of-grade or end-of-course exams to earn a high school diploma -- a figure down from 28 the year before.

 

- Six more have or plan to implement exit exams that do not mandate a minimum passing standard for graduation.

 

- Using State Scores In Calculation of Final Course Grade - Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee changed their exit exam requirements that instead factor student scores from those tests into the student's final grade in a course required for graduation.

 

- 65 percent of all public school students nationwide required to take exit exams for graduation in the 2010-11 school year, compared to 74 percent in 2009-10.

 

- The trend is moving toward more testing tied to national standards that aim to prepare students for college and careers.

 

- Of the 31 states that have or plan to implement exit exams, 27 are participating in national guidelines tied to the Common Core State Standards, and 16 of those states plan to replace their current exams with assessments tied to the Common Core.

 

- Just one state -- Georgia -- actually uses high school exit exams in employee hiring and higher education applications.

 

College-Readiness

 

- But states are still struggling to keep up. A report last month revealed dismal history education standards in Texas, contributing to a low level of college readiness among the state's high school students.

 

- In 2006, when the College Readiness Standards were created, 40 percent of Texas college students weren't prepared. Last year, 48 percent of those entering community college and 14 percent of incoming college freshmen needed remedial courses in at least one subject, and the gap is growing.

 

National figures released in August echo the Texas readiness report:

 

- Just 25 percent of ACT test-takers met college preparedness standards for English, math, reading and science, whereas nearly one-third didn't meet any of those standards. 

 

- New York's High School Progress Reports released in October revealed that just a quarter of students graduating from New York City high schools this year were prepared for college coursework, and fewer than half of all students enrolled in college four years after entering high school.

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Common Core Standards Make Schedule Change Necessary

Common Core Standards Make Schedule Change Necessary | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it
Cartersville High School students began an online petition and Facebook page in hopes of remaining on a block schedule. Cartersville City Schools Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse more than two weeks ago told Cartersville Patch the change is necessary due to the state's adoption of common core curiculum and new performance measures set to take effect in 2014. He said the move from a four-by-four block schedule to a traditional six- or seven-period plan would give students more instructional time over the course of a school year.
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Implementation: Key to the Common Core State Standards | NewAmerica

"Without proper implementation they (Common Core State Standards) will likely have little effect on academic achievement." States must think about changes needed to teacher preparation, professional development for teachers and principals and textbooks and resources that are aligned to the new standards. This is no easy task.

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Myths About Common Core Standards: Myth #1 - High and Internationally benchmarked

Myths About Common Core Standards: Myth #1 - High and Internationally benchmarked | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it
Will the new national standards make our classroom content comparable to the content taught in the best-performing nations? The answer is no.

 

Myth 1: The Common Core standards are high and internationally benchmarked to those of high achieving nations.

 

In other words, will the new national standards make our classroom content comparable to the content taught in the best-performing nations? The answer is no.

 

In this case, the facts show the Common Core standards to be mediocre in rigor and below what high achieving nations expect of their students.

 

 

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Common Core State Standards Initiative | In the States

Common Core State Standards Initiative | In the States | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

Interactive map links to state CCSS web resources.

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Teaching Persuasive Writing via the Common Core Standards

Teaching Persuasive Writing via the Common Core Standards | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

The Bottom Line
By the way, one of the most interesting things to discuss with students is the reason, the driving force, behind persuasive writing. What’s the goal here? Is it (a) Getting someone to agree with you, or (b) Persuading someone to take a specific action? What do your students think? What do you think? I would argue that it is both of those–but that neither is the primary purpose behind this complex genre. The real purpose of persuasive writing is to guide the reader through a complex set of issues so that he or she can make a good decision. Lindstrom’s article does that very well, by the way. I will never shop the same way again–and that’s quite an outcome, considering he only had one page to win me over.

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Myths about Common Core State Standards: Myth #2 Aligned with College and Workplace-readiness

Myths about Common Core State Standards: Myth #2 Aligned with College and Workplace-readiness | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it
The French painter, poet, novelist, director, etc., Jean Cocteau noted the following about our need for myths: Man seeks to escape himself in myth, and does so by any means at his disposal. Drugs, alcohol, or lies.
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Rigor and the Common Core State Standards > Eye On Education

Rigor and the Common Core State Standards > Eye On Education | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it
I spoke with an educator a couple of weeks ago about the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). He pointed out this was the solution to increasing ri...

 

Rigor is more than what you teach and what standards you cover; it's how you teach and how students show you they understand. True rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels, each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels, and each student demonstrates learning at high levels (Blackburn, 2008).

Notice the key aspects of that definition.

1. Create an environment that is conducive to growth. Rigor is about achieving at a higher level, but that doesn't happen immediately. Focus on progress, on the small steps that gradually show student growth. Encouraging students not to give up, using language that shows students you know they can learn, and celebrating the positive will help you create an environment to support rigor.

2. Focus on high expectations. The CCSS are reflective of higher expectations, but you have to reinforce that belief. How can we put high expectations into practice? By not allowing the word "can't"—not from students and not from ourselves. By continually reminding students you know they can do it. A friend of mine says that sometimes you have to believe for your students until they believe in themselves.

3. Support students so they can learn at higher levels. This requires scaffolding within a lesson. Focus on prior knowledge, model the thinking process, and provide support for gaps that occur between students' current knowledge and the new standards. Some students will need extra help outside of class.

4. Allow each student to demonstrate learning. Provide a variety of ways students can demonstrate understanding. It's fine to use questions that are similar to the final assessment, but also provide opportunities that play to students' strengths. Allow students to show what they know through technology, drawings, projects, etc. In addition, as you use formative assessments, incorporate strategies that require each student to participate. Using whole group instruction and asking one student to answer does not accomplish this goal. Use think-pair-shares, clickers, dry erase boards (or a whiteboard app for the iPad), or thumbs-up thumbs-down strategies so you can see if each student is understanding each part of the lesson.

That may sound daunting, but you are already demonstrating high expectations, providing support for students, and asking them to show you they understand. If you build on those areas, you’ll create a climate that supports rigor. In my next post, we'll look at other activities to help you incorporate rigor into your classroom.

Which of those areas do you need to pay attention to today? Share your thoughts below.

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CCSS Expensive? CA estimates of cost of implementation

CCSS Expensive? CA estimates of cost of implementation | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it
The state Department of Education's cost-benefit analysis of the waivers found what State Board member James Aschwanden called "jaw-dropping numbers."

 

The Department put the net price tag to California @ $600 million to implement Common Core

 

- teacher training,237.5 million;

 

- buying textbooks and materials,237.5 million;

 

- adopting English learner standards,118 million;

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The Illustrative Mathematics Project

The Illustrative Mathematics Project | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

This site, currently in beta, will offer practitioners a set of tasks for one standard at each grade level K-8.

 

In the future, "the sets of tasks will include elaborated teaching tasks with detailed information about using them for instructional purposes, rubrics, and student work. Such a fully developed set of tasks will be what we call a Complete Illustration of the standard."

 

Right now we are trying to build up our collection of Initial Illustrations of standards, which will have the following characteristics:

 

- A minimum of 4 tasks (although typically 5-6 or more depending on the standard).


- Most will be more like assessment tasks or brief teaching tasks. At least one will be the kernel of an instructional task that can eventually be more fully developed and elaborated with the help of teachers using it in classrooms.


- The tasks in the set will vary in difficulty. Some but not all will be scaffolded.


- A balance in computational/algorithmic and conceptual tasks.


- An appropriate number of contextual problems for the standard.


- Most of the tasks will illuminate the “center of mass” of the standard, and a few will light up the periphery.


- At least one task will bridge in some way to another standard, ideally across domains or grade levels.

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Textbooks: Districts have an eye on the Common Core State Standards

Textbooks: Districts have an eye on the Common Core State Standards | Common Core State Standards for School Leaders | Scoop.it

District Leaders See Future Changes in How Textbooks are Adopted

 

"A major change is approaching with the adoption and, in the next four years, the implementation of national Common Core academic standards by 40 states, including South Carolina.

 

With 46 states and D.C. adopting the CCSS, textbook producers will adapt.

 

"There's speculation about what the textbook industry will do," Bosket said. "Common sense would dictate that, with 40 states adopting those standards, the publishers likely will move in a similar direction."

 

Eventually, Common Core should save money, Stowe said, as the textbooks should be less expensive and more likely to match up with standards.

 

Less Narrative Text/More Informational Text

 

"The big issue with Common Core is that they will ask us to use more non-fiction reading," Stowe said. "Right now, most are fiction stories. This will be a shift to informational text and a big different in the reading series. We just hope they will be funded."

 

Note to School Leaders: This article makes no mention of the significant increase in "text complexity." Will our textbooks be out of date?

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