Student Life

Common Core: Not so Common

Starting about two years ago at Terra Linda High School, the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were introduced in our classes, getting rid of the need for the standardized STAR test. Instead of each state having its own different test, Common Core encourages the same standards at a national level. Each state that adopts the CCSS administers a similar assessment. According to the CC website, it “allows states to compare standardized test scores accurately.”

Common Core is defined as “a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy,” whose goals are to “outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade.” The goals being to raise the country’s academic standards, and to help the United States keep up with other countries that are outpacing us in education.

This change affects teaching and learning in the classrooms of all subjects. The implementation of Common Core, intends to have  more writing and analyzing to teach “literacy” skills. But Terra Linda senior Espen Scheuer has not felt its effects, saying, “I know it’s the new academic system, but other than that I have no idea.”

In math courses, the CCSS encourages the development of math literacy, analyzing proofs and concepts, and discussing ideas, as opposed to the cutting and pasting numbers in equations.  The goals for math teachers are: “instructional shifts, rigor, focus and coherence.” Daniel Hurst, Assistant Principal says one goal is, “to understand the concept, not the individual skill that will get you the answer. To know the ‘why’ of the problem, and to genuinely understand what is behind the math.”

The new standards for English Language Arts are molded by “developing claims and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims.” Again, just like in math, it focuses more on the realization of the material for a greater understanding. Sophomore, Ryan Duffy, seemed to know a little more than Scheuer, but not much, saying that “it’s the new learning system and we have to explain more in English class.”  

So far, Common Core has made a small impact on students, who are not able to entirely explain what it is. Being that younger classes have more time to experience the new standards, and teachers are becoming more familiar with their goals, students will probably see more of it in years to come.

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