Common Core State Standards

Mission of Common Core Initiative

The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

What are the Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were developed through a state-led initiative to establish consistent and clear education standards for English-language arts and mathematics that would better prepare students for success in the competitive global economy.

These new standards focus on integrating academic content with skill instruction. The CCSS makes clear what students should be able to do, as well as what they should know when they graduate. All of the English-language arts standards at the lower grades build, or spiral, to the twelfth grade standards. It is possible to trace the development of a standard from kindergarten through graduation, at each level the work increases in complexity. The math standards focus on "habits of mind" that students can apply at all levels of mathematics. This shift is an exciting opportunity for teachers to vertically articulate curriculum in ways not possible under the current standards.

How Will the CCSS Be Assessed?

Beginning in 2014-15, Common Core Standards will be assessed in grades 3-8 and once more in grade 11. There are two consortiums that will provide the assessments to states and California has selected Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Smarter Balanced is a state-led consortium working collaboratively to develop next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that accurately measure student progress toward college and career readiness. The Consortium involves educators, researchers, policymakers, and community groups in a transparent and consensus-driven process to help all students thrive in a knowledge-driven global economy.

Smarter Balanced is guided by the belief that a balanced, high-quality assessment system—including formative, interim, and summative components—can improve teaching and learning by providing information and tools for teachers and schools to help students succeed. Timely and meaningful assessment information can offer specific information about areas of performance so that teachers can follow up with targeted instruction, students can better target their own efforts, and administrators and policymakers can more fully understand what students know and can do, in order to guide curriculum and professional development decisions.

Smarter Balanced assessments make use of computer adaptive technology, which is more precise and efficient than fixed-form testing. Teachers, principals, and parents can receive results from computerized assessments in weeks, not months. Faster results mean that teachers can use the information from optional interim assessments throughout the school year to differentiate instruction and better meet the unique needs of their students.

Smarter Balanced assessments will go beyond multiple-choice questions and include short constructed response, extended constructed response, and performance tasks that allow students to complete an in-depth project that demonstrate analytical skills and real-world problem solving.


Common Core Web Pages

Common Core State Standards in Spanish (en Espanol)

San Mateo County Office of Education CCSS Resources Web Page

Smarter Balanced Assessment Websites

SBAC Practice Tests

Common Core State Standards by Content

English Language Arts


Science (Next Generation Science Standards)

CCSS Literacy Standards for Science and Technical Subjects

CCSS Literacy Standards for History/Social Studies

English Language Development

Resources for Parents

Video Introduction of CCSS: A New Foundation for Student Success (approximately 3 minutes)

California Dept. of Ed. CCSS Parent Resources

CCSS Parent Handbook

PTA Parents Guide to Student Success

Guía para los Padres de Éxito del Estudiante

CCSS Parent Roadmaps: English Language Arts

CCSS Parent Roadmaps: Mathematics

Resources for Educators

Video Introduction of CCSS for Educators- Brokers of Expertise (an account must be created to view)

Achieve the Core- online CCSS PD




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