Updated Question and Answers about the Illinois Common Core Standards

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1 Updated Question and Answers about the Illinois Common Core Standards Information Regarding the Illinois Common Core English Language Arts Standards The Illinois Learning Standards, based on the Common Core, establish clear and consistent expectations for the knowledge and skills that students should acquire at the end of each grade level. They provide more clarity on how students should progress from grade to grade. Compared to Illinois former learning standards, the new standards in ELA encourage three major instructional shifts: Balance the amount of literature and informational texts Use textual evidence to support reading and writing Expand academic vocabulary Instructional Shifts in ELA Instruction under the Illinois Learning Standards, incorporating the Common Core Instructional Shift Reading nonfiction and informational texts Using textual evidence to support reading and writing Expanding academic vocabulary Examples In K 5, students spend equal time reading informational texts and literature By grade 12, the ratio of informational text to literature during the course of an entire school day is 7:3 Use of well defended claims in writing Students must read texts in order to answer questions (rather than using prior knowledge or experience) Texts increase in complexity across grade level Focus on academic vocabulary and words that appear across disciplines In addition, these new learning standards call for greater literacy across all subjects not just English so that teachers in history, social studies, science and technical subjects also play a role in sharpening students critical reading skills and increasing their access to informational texts. Perhaps the greatest instructional change however, is the standards strong emphasis on reading critically and writing analytically. The shift Engaging with Complex Text is one example of the way in which these new learning standards encourage greater depth of understanding. The standards emphasize close and careful reading of fewer texts, rather than cursory reading of many texts, so that students can focus on the most important literacy and language skills. Information Regarding Illinois Common Core Math Standards The new math standards, based on the Common Core, generate three major instructional shifts in focus, coherence and rigor. Adopted in 2010, these standards focus on the skills that students truly need to master at each grade level in order to succeed in subsequent grades. This means that there are fewer standards, but more teaching time for those standards that do remain. The standards are coherent both within a single grade and across grades. In other words, new concepts build upon previously learned concepts so that math topics are linked to one another. The standards also clearly progress in difficulty from one grade to the next. Finally, the standards are rigorous because they support conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application with equal intensity. Students with conceptual understanding see mathematics as something more than memorizing multiplication tables or using tricks to get a solution. They understand the actual

2 mathematical process behind their work. With procedural skill and fluency, students perform math operations with speed and accuracy. Lastly, the Common Core requires that students apply their math knowledge to real world situations. Not all of the content in a given grade is emphasized equally in the standards. The list of content standards for each grade is not a flat, one dimensional checklist; this is by design. There are sometimes strong differences of emphasis even within a single domain. Some clusters (skills) require greater emphasis than the others based on the depth of the ideas, the time that they take to master, and/or their importance to future mathematics or the demands of college and career readiness. In addition, an intense focus on the most critical material at each grade allows depth in learning, which is carried out through the Standards for Mathematical Practice. Without such focus, attention to the practices would be difficult and unrealistic, as would best practices like formative assessment. Listed below are the clusters (skills) for each grade level. Kindergarten: First Grade:

3 Second Grade: Third Grade: Fourth Grade:

4 Fifth Grade: Sixth Grade: Seventh Grade:

5 Eighth Grade: For further information regarding the Illinois Common Core Standards as well as how the Dunlap School District has prepared its students for the transition to these more rigorous standards, please see below. What are the Common Core Standards? View a 3 minute video explaining the common core standards Learn more about the Common Core State Standards Initiative Learn more about how you can help your child here Illinois specific information can be found on the Illinois State Board of Education Common Core Fact Sheet, August 2013, topics.htm#facts View Dunlap School District blog posts associated with the Common Core Standards: in focus a year in review/ 4 partnership with families dunlap valley familyreading night a success/ isat cut scores what do they mean for your childand the district/ cut scores raised for the 2013 assessment/ math critical thinkers/ grade level teams develop assessments/ institute 2013 teachers return to session/ 1 to continuously improve student growth andachievement/ and answers regarding the districts newmath resource math in focus/ thinkers district implements new k 8 mathprogram/ district curriculum online/

6 Is the Dunlap School District required to implement the Common Core Standards? Yes. The implementation of the Illinois Common Core Standards is part of the District s Board Policy No. 6:60 and Illinois State Code 105 ILCS 5/ All Illinois public schools are required to fully implement the new standards by When did the state of Illinois adopt the Common Core Standards? Illinois adopted the Common Core standards in 2010 after recognizing that it needed to update its existing learning standards developed in the 1990 s. Were the standards a federal initiative? No. Although created by a national consortium of states, the Common Core standards are independent of the federal government. The idea behind Common Core Standards came from the National Governors Consortium and state education leaders from over 40 states.it was a collaborative effort to raise expectations and improve instruction for all students regardless of where they live. Who created the standards? The creators of the Common Core consulted with parents, teachers and school administrators through two public comment periods held in September 2009 and March After considering public feedback, staff members from the Illinois State Board of Education then submitted their own suggestions to the consortium developing the Common Core standards. Do the Common Core Standards dictate how teachers will teach? No. Common Core Standards do not dictate how teachers teach. Districts determine how best to implement the standards and with what resources and strategies they will use to do so. How do the Common Core Standards differ from the previous Illinois Learning Standards? The standards establish minimum benchmarks (skills) that students need to learn at each particular grade level. Previous benchmarks described skills over a several grade spans, such as early and late elementary. The Common Core standards differ from previous learning standards because of their emphasis on critical thinking and concept mastery. The Common Core aligns with international standards as well so that students will be well equipped to compete in today s global economy. English Language Arts Common Core Standards emphasizes: o reading and comprehending nonfiction o using evidence to support claims o academic vocabulary o research skills Mathematics Common Core content and process standards require: o greater focus on fewer topics so that students gain a more comprehensive understanding of key topics o application of math towards solving real world problems

7 What are the college and career skills are embedded in the Common Core Standards? Taken from Collaborating with Success with the Common Core, June 2013 What are the differences between the previous and new literacy expectations? The Common Core Standards recognize that literacy is not just taught in the English Language Arts. Therefore, the Common Core Standards have also included literacy standards for the content (Science and Social Studies) and technical areas. Listed below is a chart that demonstrates a comparison of the traditional content literacy approach to effective content literacy approach, which is required to meet the Common Core State Standards. As you will see, the Common Core literacy approach requires students to think critically and deeply, which is a vision of the Dunlap School District. Characteristics of Traditional Content Literacy Teacher uses activities to teach and reinforce learning that require as little independent reading and writing as possible. Teacher provides students with the inferences and insights while students listen and take notes. Teacher summarizes the content text for students, deciding for them what is important, and worth knowing. Even if students do read a text, they are asked only basic knowledge and comprehension questions about the reading. Teachers have low expectations for struggling students and rarely provide scaffolded instruction or materials for those students that show them Characteristics of Content Literacy as required by the Common Core State Standards Teacher designs questions, tasks, and activities that require students to be cognitively engaged in reading and writing in response to reading content text. Students are expected to read like detectives, combing the content text for evidence to support their inferences and writing in defense of their conclusions with evidence from the text. Students are expected to read the content text and write their own summaries of the text, offering evidence to support their assertions. Teachers are cognizant of struggling students and their needs for scaffolded instructions. Teachers provide materials designed to show students how

8 how to execute specific literacy strategies. Teacher determines in advance that students are incapable of independently reading the text and consequently prepares PowerPoint presentations and then talks or tells the big ideas of the text while students copy notes from the screen as the teacher elaborates the information. to execute specific strategies. Close and careful reading of content text is a central part of classroom activities. Teacher selects content specific text and appropriate scaffolding strategies to enable students to rehearse close and careful reading of the contentspecific texts. Dunlap School District Common Core Standards Implementation Timeline January 2010 Illinois Legislature adopts the Common Core Standards District Teachers: studied the common core standards completed a gap analysis between Illinois Learning Standards and new Illinois Common Core Math, English Language Arts (ELA), and Content Literacy Standards created an action plan for addressing the identified gaps K 8 Teachers researched and reviewed 4 math curriculum resources in order to meet the new grade level expectations Math in Focus, Everyday Math, envisions, and Go Math K 8 Teachers recommended Math in Focus as the resource that most closely aligned with the expectations of the Math Common Core Content Standards and Practices HS Math Teachers researched and reviewed curriculum resources. The decision was made to hold on the purchase of new materials as the teachers did not feel the resources (texts) accurately reflected the new standards. Language Arts curriculum resources were updated to match the English Language Arts Common Core Standards for Kindergarten classrooms (Summer 2012) All K 2, 3 5 Pilot, and 6 8 Math Teachers began teaching to the Math Common Core Standards utilizing Math in Focus as the primary curriculum resource. District Teachers updated course maps to reflect the Common Core Math, English Language Arts, and/or Content Literacy Standards. Secondary Teacher Leaders attended workshops regarding the ELA and Content Literacy Standards and facilitated professional development for their department teachers. K 5 and middle school math teachers participated in professional development to support the implementation of Math in Focus. Secondary Language Arts and elementary teachers began implementing the ELA Standards within their courses.

9 DHS Math Teachers began implementing the Math Common Core Standards, focusing on the process standards. Approximately one third of the 2013 ISAT exam for students in grades 3 8 assessed the new Common Core Standards. ISBE creates new cut scores for performance levels All Illinois school districts are required to fully implement the adopted Illinois Common Core Math, ELA, and Content Literacy Standards. Language Arts curriculum resources were updated to match the English Language Arts Common Core Standards for all first and second grades classrooms (Summer 2013). A pilot group of 3 rd through 5 th grade teachers is implementing an updated English Language Arts curriculum resource. All 3 5 classrooms began teaching to the Math Common Core Standards utilizing Math in Focus as the primary curriculum resource. Algebra I and Algebra 2 courses were updated to reflect the ISBE recommended content units representing the Common Core Math Standards (Summer 2013). Teachers will participate in professional development designed to support the implementation of the Common Core Standards. The STAR Reading and Math assessment was purchased for all schools. This assessment will help teachers monitor how students are performing on the skills outlined by the Common Core Math and ELA Standards. The entire 2014 ISAT exam for students in grades 3 8 will reflect the Common Core Standards ISAT will be replaced by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams developed to assess the Common Core Standards in grades High School students will take math and language arts end of course exams. Continue to update curriculum resources that most closely align with the skills and expectations of the Common Core Standards. Continue to provide teachers with professional development regarding the implementation of the Common Core Standards.

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