Implementing the Standards: What it means for Teachers & Students
Implementation of the Common Core State Standards will have an impact on the classroom, on instructional strategies and student learning. Although the scope of the mathematical content has narrowed for each grade level, it has also deepened.
This shift in the curriculum will require teachers to possess a deeper knowledge of critical mathematical concepts in order for them to employ instructional practices that engage students in learning.
Grade level meetings should afford teachers a safe environment and the time to read, discuss, explore and understand each standard. The goal of these meetings should be that all teachers return to their classrooms with a clear understanding of the content of the standards and the expected student outcomes. During these meetings, teachers should unpack the content of each standard to determine all the skills that students must know and be able to do in order to achieve the expected learning outcomes.
Once teachers have a clear understanding of the content of the standards, they will need to offer differentiate instruction and provide multiple opportunities for all types of learners. They must have strategies, instructions and activities that offer opportunities to expand the content for those who are ready for an even deeper understanding of the standard.
In addition, they must be ready to intervene with strategies, instructions and activities for students who need further instruction and remediation. Students should be provided with a multitude and a variety of activities in which they interpret, analyze and solve real-world problems.
Teachers must offer students a variety of opportunities that reinforce their understanding of the key concepts by requiring students to share their knowledge with others, discuss the process they used to solve the problems and justify their answers. Students should be allowed to demonstrate their learning through all means of communication including verbal, written, artistic and use of technology. As a result, a student should be able to clearly communicate in all types of media to support their thinking and to analyze and integrate the reasoning of others.
Assessments that align to the Common Core State Standards require a shift away from an entire test composed of the traditional multiple-choice items. Assessments aligned to the standards should contain items that allow students to use their knowledge to demonstrate their learning in project-based activities. Traditional multiple-choice items with four possible answers –only one being correct—will be replaced with assessment items that have multiple correct choices and assessment items in which students need to organize the data following specific guidelines.
As educators align their curriculum, instructional strategies, student activities and assessments to the Common Core State Standards, educators, as well as the public, should concentrate their efforts on the goal, which is to provide all students with the necessary skills to be successful in school and in the workforce throughout their life and their career.