Common Core

A Parent's Guide to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

In recent months, there has been a lot of attention on the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). As schools across the country and here in Carroll County begin to implement the new standards, it's important to make sure that, as a parent, you are part of that conversation.
Click here to view an informative "Top 10 Things All Parents Should Know About Common Core" list compiled by the Maryland State Department of Education.  Also, below are answers to questions you might have about the standards and what they might mean for your children.  A list of additional resources can be found below and will be updated as the Common Core Team at Northwest discovers more resources.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the Common Core State Standards?

The Common Core State Standards are a set of expectations that outline what students should be learning in English/language arts and mathematics at each grade level (K-12).

2. What is the goal of the CCSS?

The goal of the CCSS is to make sure that all students are well prepared for college, technical education, or the workplace after high school graduation.

3. Do the standards tell teachers how to teach?

No. The CCSS do not tell teachers how to teach; they simply outline the skills that all students should master. For example, the CCSS do not tell teachers which books should be taught in fourth-grade English/language arts, but they do say that each fourth grader should learn how to identify "a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text" or "summarize the text."

4. Are there standards for science, social studies and other content areas?

No. At this time, the CCSS do not address content areas other than reading/language arts and mathematics; however, they do include standards related to content area reading in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects for Grades 6-12.

5. Why were the CCSS created?

Currently, each individual state has its own education standards, and there is little consistency from one state to another. The CCSS were designed to provide a single set of research-based standards that will ensure that all students nationwide have access to the same rigorous academic content. So far, 45 of the 50 states have adopted the CCSS, which are scheduled to go into effect in 2014.

6. Who wrote the standards?

The CCSS were not developed by the federal government, but by a group of educators and experts coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The federal government will not oversee the implementation of the CCSS.

7. Where can I learn more?

Parents can access the Common Core State Standards in their entirety on the CCSS website. By reviewing the standards for their child's grade level, parents can be better equipped to provide support for their child's learning at home.  Also, the links below under 'Recommended Resources' provide a great overview of more specific information as it relates to the transition to CCSS.


Recommended Resources
PARCC Test Preparation Site - a site containing resources for parents and students, including practice tests and sample items that have been released.
MSDE Common Core Resource Guide - an evolving bank of resources for parents and teachers regarding Common Core and how classrooms and learning will shift.
National PTA Common Core Page - an overview of resources specifically designed for parents to learning more about the transition to Common Core.
Illustrative Mathematics - this site allows viewers to follow specific math clusters and strands as they develop from grade to grade, specific to mathematics.
Social Studies Information - this site provides Common Core updates from the National Council for the Social Studies.
Framework for Inquiry in Social Studies State Standards - the linked document contains the Vision for College, Career and Civic Life.
Site with lessons and demonstrations - this linked site has an assortment of lessons, videos, worksheets and games aligned to Common Core mathematics.