A parent walks their child to school

10 Things Parents Should Know About Common Core Standards

It may surprise you how little the average parent knows about the implementation of Common Core Standards, especially considering how often they bring them up in the context of the education of their children. This change in education hasn’t been properly explained to most people who aren’t working with it directly. Most parents just know that it isn’t the way they were taught in school, so they’re hesitant to accept it. Well, let’s try to clear up some of the confusion.

1. The standards are designed to boost communication skills.

Across all disciplines, Common Core is aimed at language development in each of its four areas: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Communication affects how we interact with the world around us, and these standards were created to prepare your child for the world after high school. This means that there will be a more rigorous focus on accelerated vocabulary and writing prompts.

2. Worksheets and lectures are not going to cut it anymore.

Common Core allows for hands on application of the material, meaning that students will be asked to create rather than simply regurgitating facts and dates. This high level thinking is promoted by project based learning, which will give students the opportunity to put what they are learning into action.

3. It’s about depth, rather than breadth.

Students may spend longer on one topic, but they will be examining many facets of it. Keep in mind that Common Core is more about a set of skills that it is about the material itself, so teachers will use one area of study to cover many of the required standards instead of using lots of smaller lessons.

4. Nonfiction will play a bigger role in your child’s life.

Literature is still very much alive in the classroom, but it is no longer the only thing that students will be reading. In order to boost analytical skills and prepare them for the types of texts they will most likely be asked to read in their careers, teachers will be providing students with informational texts.

5. Not all states will be as strict about following the standards.

Common Core gives states a little breathing room when it comes to actually teaching the required skills. While the system pushes for universal curriculum, that doesn’t mean that all students will be learning the same thing all the time. Districts still get to tailor lessons to the needs of their community.

6. You’d better get used to seeing the name.

Common Core is becoming a brand. You will see these words plastered on workbooks and assignments that your child brings home. But since the teachers are focusing on the skills rather than the materials, it is not a wise move to buy something simply because it says ‘Common Core’ on the spine.

7. You can chart progress throughout your child’s academic career.

The Common Core Standards don’t change with grade level; they are merely expanded upon. So, you can see how your children are developing these skills before your eyes. This will help you discuss next steps with their teachers.

8. Common Core tries to get students to ask questions.

These standards are about understanding why things happen the way they do, rather than just accepting it as fact. They are designed to generate curiosity within students, getting them to examine the world at their fingertips.

9. Students will learn how to read difficult texts.

Common Core Standards look at reading strategies that boost comprehension, even if students are reading a text that’s above their grade level. These techniques are meant to equip students with the tools needed to use the knowledge that they do have to unlock the vocabulary and concepts that may be giving them difficulty.

10. There is more of a demand placed on the students.

Objectively speaking, the Common Core assessments are more challenging than those which were being used by most states. There is a higher performance expectation that there was in the past, so your children are going to have to work harder to meet the standards at the end of each grade level.