As school districts across the county work to implement the new Common Core State Standards, people may be wondering exactly what the standards are and what they will mean for students.
Educational standards set guidelines and describe what students should know and be able to do as they progress from kindergarten through 12th grade. They define the knowledge and skills that students are expected to gain in each grade level.
The Common Core State Standards replaced previous English language arts and mathematics standards, which were adopted in the late 1990s. Though there are similarities with the former standards, the Common Core State Standards are intended to be more rigorous and to emphasize critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity more than the previous ones did.
The standards will help guide educators to prepare students for college and career, where they will need these skills.
"Students will be a lot more involved in making meaning of their world—through the exploration of text and other media, through individual and collaborative problem solving around complex issues, and through the construction of arguments and the evaluation of others' arguments," said Scott Sypkens, senior director of curriculum and instruction at the San Diego County Office of Education.
The standards also encourage and facilitate the integration of technology into the classroom, both as a resource to support student learning and as a way to ensure all students have equal access to information.
Over the past several years, San Diego County's 42 school districts have prepared to fully implement the Common Core State Standards by training teachers and administrators, developing curriculum, revising assessments, and upgrading technology.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards that 45 states, including California, have voluntarily adopted.