What Are The Common Core Standards?

Common Core is a rigorous set of standards for the English Language Arts and mathematics curriculum that has been developed based on the best practices of schools and organizations around the country and the world. The standards were created using the feedback of K-12 teachers, college-level educators and experts in the fields of civil rights, English-language learners and students with disabilities.

 The standards are designed to do the following:

  • Prepare students for college and career readiness by aligning with college and work expectations.
  • Be clear, understandable and consistent. Each grade level will focus on key topics, with a coherent learning progression across each grade level.
  • Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order thinking skills. The level of academic rigor is ambitious but achievable for students.
  • Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards.
  • Use strategies from other top-performing countries so that all students are prepared to succeed in a global economy and society; and
  • Be evidence-based.

The standards are not a step-by-step guide for classroom instruction; rather, they are an outline of the goals to be reached and skills to be mastered at every grade level and upon graduation. The main focus of the Common Core is to increase academic rigor and prepare students for postsecondary career and college opportunities. The Common Core Standards define what a student should know and be able to do. It specifies “what” should be taught and learned, not “how” the content is taught.