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Common Core State Standards

What it is and What to Expect

There has been a lot of buzz lately surrounding two small words, “Common Core.”  So what is the Common Core and how will it affect your child’s education?  To answer these questions and more, we have put together a list of Frequently Asked Question.

Common Core State Standards

Who, What, Where, When, Why and How?
Illinois was of 45 states that adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  Implementation of CCSS began in 2013. 


Q: What are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)?

A: The CCSS are nationally-developed learning expectations for students in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Common Core standards are also being developed in Science and Social Science.

The CCSS align curriculum from Kindergarten to Twelfth Grade (K-12), which means that there is a clear sequence of student expectations from one year to the next.

The CCSS define the knowledge and skills students should have within their education careers so that they will graduate from high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit bearing college courses and in workforce training programs. The CCSS will replace the state-created learning standards that have anchored Illinois teaching, learning and assessment since their inception in 1997.

Q: Why are the CCSS replacing the state learning standards?

A: The previous Illinois State Learning Standards was not aligned from grades K-12. The expectations for students at the grade school level did not adequately prepare students to enter Ninth Grade with the necessary skill set for high school level coursework. The Common Core State Standards are an attempt solve this problem because specific benchmarks and skill sets will be defined and assessed at each grade level.

The CCSS are part of a national effort to improve college and career readiness, academic rigor, and educational accountability. The CCSS are expected to increase global competitiveness; reduce rates of college remediation; and improve student academic achievement.

Q: How are the CCSS different/better than current state learning standards?

A: Generally speaking, the CCSS are different than the current state learning standards in three important ways:

  • The CCSS are aligned from grades K-12 and prepare students for success in college or career.
  • There are fewer CCSS than the current learning standards; therefore, teachers are able to focus more time and resources on the important skills and concepts encompassed in the CCSS.
  • The CCSS are higher—that is, more rigorous and challenging. For example, the CCSS for elementary math will now include basic Geometry and some upper grade math concepts will now be taught in lower grades. Middle school CCSS will include more Algebra and Geometry concepts, and high school will include more Statistics in Algebra, Geometry and Advanced Algebra..

Q: Who developed the CCSS?

A: The CCSS was a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The CCSS were developed by teachers, administrators, and education experts.

Q: When will the CCSS be implemented?

A: Implementation of the CCSS has begun in all areas of study at JTHS.


Teaching and Testing

Q: Will a new test be used to assess student mastery of CCSS?

A: Yes. A new state standardized test that is aligned with the CCSS has replaced the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE). The new test (PARCC) for both Mathematics and English Language Arts was given for the first time in 2014-15 to students in Algebra 1 and English 1. 

Q: Are teachers getting professional development on the new CCSS?

A: Yes. Extensive staff development has occurred throughout the school year and will continue to occur on a regular basis during school improvement time and over the summer.


Impact on Education

Q: What is the overall impact of the CCSS on public education?

A: Public education has always been a function of state and local government. That will still be the case because local Boards of Education will continue to oversee actual curricula for students in our community.

However, for the first time the national government is setting the bar for academic achievement nationwide through a uniform system of learning expectations.

Q: Will the transition to the CCSS affect standardized test scores?

A: Yes. The transition to the CCSS will create some initial “learning gaps” between grades. These “learning gaps” will likely result in lower scores on the new state standardized test until the CCSS are fully implemented. ***This is to be expected and was seen in the late 1990s when Illinois changed from the Illinois Learning Goals to the Illinois Learning Standards.***

Q: How will District 204 help students during the transition from the state learning standards to the CCSS?

A: District 204 will provide appropriate supports and resources to close the anticipated “learning gaps.” In fact, District 204 teachers are using school improvement time to work collaboratively with other teachers to investigate teaching strategies that will support the integration of the CCSS.

JTHS also works with our sender school districts to develop curriculum that is aligned from grades K-12.

Joliet Township High School District 204
300 Caterpillar Drive, Joliet, Illinois, 60436|Get Directions
T. 815-727-6970|F. 815-727-1277|E. info@jths.org
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