Common Core State Standards
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) adopted the CCSS in 2010 to replace the previous Illinois Learning Standards that were developed in 1997. More than 40 states, including Illinois and the District of Columbia, have adopted the Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts and/or Mathematics. The ISBE noted that the new standards are higher, fewer and deeper than the previous Illinois standards. The CCSS also establish year-by-year guidelines outlining the skills and content that Illinois students, as well as students in most states across the nation, must master at each grade level.
Beginning in 2011, the District 113A leadership team and teacher leaders from all grade levels learned about the new standards by participating in training and professional development. The literacy and mathematics curriculum leadership teams began to develop curriculum and organize instructional plans and materials for their grade levels. In 2012-2013, we started to implement the CCSS for English/Language Arts and Mathematics with a plan to phase in the teaching of the new standards over three years. Kindergarten and 1st grade implemented on a more accelerated schedule because students in these grade levels had only limited experience with the previous Illinois Learning Standards and would never participate in the current Illinois state test. Though our district’s curriculum review cycle has been suspended since 2009 due to our State-Approved Financial Plan restrictions, our updated State Plan allows us to resume the curriculum review cycle with mathematics this year. The mathematics leadership team will review many text and digital resources to select materials that will best support our teachers’ instruction with the updated CCSS-aligned curriculum at their grade levels. In keeping with our usual practice, the teacher curriculum leaders will be asking for parent volunteers to review some of the curriculum materials later this year.
As schools in our state focus their curriculum and instruction on the new learning standards, student assessments will also change to align with the standards. This past year, some of the ISAT (Illinois Standards Achievement Test) questions were based on the CCSS. The Illinois State Board of Education recently confirmed that all of the 2013-2014 ISAT items will be aligned with the Common Core State Standards. In 2014-2015, a new student achievement assessment developed by PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers-a consortium formed with many states across the country) will be implemented. The PARCC goals include: create high-quality assessments, build a pathway to college and career readiness for all students, support the educators in the classroom, develop 21st-century technology-based assessments and advance accountability at all levels.
For more information about the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC assessments, the District encourages parents to visit these sites:
Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Resources
Common Core State Standards Resources
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers
National PTA Common Core Guides for Parents