Learning doesn't end in the classroom. Parents can help provide support and a home environment that will make it easier for children to succeed at school.
The National Parent-Teacher Association offers a list of recommendations that include:
- creating a quiet place for your child to study;
- setting aside uninterrupted time every day for your child to concentrate on reading, writing and math; and
- sitting down with your child at least once a week for 15 to 30 minutes while he or she works on homework.
Other strategies that can be helpful depending on a child's age include reading to them or encouraging them to read, discussing their day at school, playing word games, helping them understand academic vocabulary, setting high expectations, focusing on the process rather than the answer, encouraging them to see math in the real world and asking children to explain why they think a certain answer is correct.
"The first thing parents can do is get familiar with what the standards are asking their children to know and be able to do," said Scott Sypkens, senior director of curriculum and instruction at the San Diego County Office of Education.
To encourage children to think critically, which is a priority in the new standards, parents can ask them to analyze whatever they are reading and to back their answers up with information from the book.
It also could be helpful to run through one of the practice tests available on www.smarterbalanced.org with children and ask them to explain why they picked the answers they did. Helping children learn important computer skills such as typing and mouse control can also help them navigate the online assessments.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that 45 states, including California, have voluntarily adopted.
The standards are designed to ensure that students graduate from high school prepared for college or the workforce.
"It's our moral obligation to prepare this generation for the world in which they will live, a world that is rapidly changing," Sypkens said.