Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

commoncoreSVUSDCalifornia Dept of Education Common Core State Standards

Educational standards describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject in each grade. In California, the State Board of Education decides on the standards for all students, from kindergarten through high school. Since 2010, 45 states have adopted the same standards for English and math. These standards are called the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Having the same standards helps all students get a good education, even if they change schools or move to a different state. Teachers, parents, and education experts designed the standards to prepare students for success in college and the workplace.

CDE website link for parents:
Common Core en Español:

Habits of Mind 

OCDE Ladership Support Content Areas

SAT to Realign with Schoolwork

Common Core State Standards FAQs from Orange County Department of Education

Mathematics Framework Chapters

The State Board of Education adopted the Mathematics Framework on November 6, 2013.

Council of Great City Schools

Parent Roadmaps to the Common Core Standards- Mathematics

The Council of the Great City Schools’ parent roadmaps in mathematics provide guidance to parents about what their children will be learning and how they can support that learning in grades K-8. These parent roadmaps for each grade level also provide three-year snapshots showing how selected standards progress from year to year so that students will be college and career ready upon their graduation from high school.

Myths and Facts about the Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) outline what students should know and what they should be able to do in reading and mathematics from kindergarten through 12th grade. The standards align with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully enter college or the workforce, are benchmarked to the standards of the world’s top-performing countries, and mark the first time that states share a common set of expectations for the nation’s students.

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted and are preparing to fully implement the Common Core Standards. These states will also administer the new standards aligned tests in the 2014–15 school year. Unfortunately, rumors and myths about the CCSS continue to generate confusion among educators, policymakers, and the public.

MYTH: The Common Core standards were developed by the federal government.

FACT: States developed the standards. The nation’s governors and state education commissioners spearheaded Common Core development to provide clear and consistent understanding of the reading and math knowledge and skills that students need to be ready for lifelong learning and career success. Working through their representative organizations – the National Governors Association (NGA) and Council of Chief

State School Officers (CCSSO) – state leaders collaborated with educators, subject matter experts, and researchers to write and review the standards. The federal government was not involved with the standards’ development.

MYTH: The federal government required states to adopt the standards.

FACT: The federal government did not require states to adopt the standards. In fact, four states (Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia) have chosen not to adopt the standards in either subject, and Minnesota has adopted the English language arts standards but not the math standards. However, the federal government’s Race to the Top grant competition incentivized states to adopt college and career readiness standards, such as the CCSS, by providing state applicants with additional points for doing so. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education required states to adopt either the Common Core standards or another set of reading and math college- and career-ready standards approved by its network of higher education institutions.

MYTH: The Common Core standards include all core academic subjects.

FACT: The Common Core includes only mathematics and English language arts standards. The standards do, however, connect with student learning in other subjects by emphasizing literacy, academic vocabulary, problem solving, and mathematical reasoning across the curriculum, including in history and science. Separate efforts to create model standards for science, social studies, and the arts are under way, but these efforts are not part of the CCSS.

MYTH: The Common Core standards will fully prepare students for college and their careers.

FACT: Students need more than reading and math proficiency to be fully ready for college and their careers.

To be sure, the CCSS – which are often described as college- and career-readiness standards – are an important first step in delineating the reading and math knowledge and skills that students will need to succeed after high school graduation. But to attain postsecondary success, students must have access to a comprehensive education that also includes instruction in the arts, civics and government, economics, foreign languages, geography, health education, history, physical education, and science.

Furthermore, a whole child approach to education is essential to realizing the promise of the standards. Only when students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged will they be able to meet our highest expectations and realize their fullest potential. Similarly, effective professional development that helps educators integrate the standards into the classroom and translate the standards into instructional strategies that meet their students’ unique needs is crucial to the new standards’ success.

MYTH: The Common Core standards are a national curriculum that dictates what and how every educator must teach.

FACT: The standards are not a curriculum. Standards are targets for what students should know and be able to do. Curricula are the instructional plans and strategies that educators use to help their students reach those expectations. The CCSS are a set of shared goals for the knowledge and skills students should possess in English language arts and mathematics to be proficient in those subjects. As such, districts and schools should use the standards as a basis for developing their own curricula by designing course content, choosing appropriate instructional strategies, developing learning activities, continuously gauging student understanding, and adjusting instruction accordingly.

MYTH: The CCSS will usurp local control of schools.

FACT: School boards remain responsible for setting their own visions and executing their own approaches for helping students reach the standards. In addition, districts and schools will continue to choose their own textbooks and instructional materials, provide teachers with tailored professional development, and design supports and interventions to help students reach proficiency.

School districts have always had to abide by state-approved education standards, of which the CCSS is one example. At the same time, districts had the flexibility and responsibility to implement the state-approved standards in a manner that reflected their local contexts and students’ needs. The same holds try with the Common Core standards. As has always been the case, educators and local communities will continue to make decisions about what happens in their districts, schools, and classrooms.

MYTH: Student test scores will plummet on the new Common Core assessments compared with scores on current state assessments.

FACT: The Common Core assessments that are under development are new tests based on new standards, which means that they will set a brand new benchmark for student performance. As such, it is simply not valid to compare scores on the new tests with scores on previous state assessments.

To measure student understanding of the Common Core standards, CA is participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). In addition to setting those new performance benchmarks, the new assessment system will differ markedly from current state assessments in delivery, complexity, and timing. Assessments are computer-based and will feature more varied and sophisticated questions – including performance-based items – that are designed to evaluate students’ problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

MYTH: States, districts, and schools are spending excessive resources on Common Core implementation.

FACT: Although transitioning to the new standards will initially cost states additional money, the collaborative nature of the Common Core provides states with the opportunity to share resources, assessments, and educator professional development, resulting in economies of scale never before possible.

It’s also important to note that the costs associates with CCSS implementation – updating instructional materials, providing professional development for educators, and improving assessments – are ongoing investments for states, districts, and schools and would be requisite expenses for any new standards a state chooses to adopt.

MYTH: Implementing the new standards involves analyzing and reporting information about individual students and puts students’ privacy at risk.

FACT: Common Core participation does not require student-level data sharing, analysis, or reporting. Each state decides how to assess its students on the standards and how to use the results of those assessments. Smarter Balanced will collect basic demographic data on students so that states have information on subgroup performance for accountability purposes, but they will not report assessment or demographic information at the individual student level. States will make their own decisions about whether to further analyze or share the assessment data as a way to inform, improve, and personalize instruction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is SVUSD and the rest of California making this change?

Common Core is about teaching our students to investigate, collaborate and discover. It’s about solving real-world problems and learning multiple paths to each solution. It’s about cultivating diverse skills andnurturing talents that transcend the capacity of existing technologies. It’s about taking our work with students a step further and substantially deeper.

What will the Common Core standards look like in my child’s classroom?

Hands-on activities and collaborative exercises will be much more prevalent, and English students will see a shift toward nonfiction texts. Media skills will be integrated into everyday lessons, writing will be shared with outside audiences and next-generation assessments will evaluate higher order processes. Math classes will teach fewer concepts, but they will reach new depths in exploring those concepts. Students will be challenged with more real-world applications and fewer theoretical equations, and there will be a greater emphasis on learning the process rather than merely providing the correct answer.

How will this affect standardized testing?

On Oct. 2, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that will replace the state’s old standardized testing system with more modern, computer-based assessments aligned with the new Common Core instructional standards. Authored by Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla, D-Concord, the law suspends most Standardized Testing and Reporting exams for the current school year, meaning SVUSD students won’t take California Standards Tests in the spring. That enables school districts to begin transitioning to the new California Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress — or MAPP — assessments, which are slated to be administered during the 2014-15 school year.

The new exams, developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, will feature computer-adaptive technology that can adjust questions based on previous right or wrong answers, providing much more precise feedback to indicate which skills and content areas have been mastered. Like the Common Core itself, the assessments will focus more on critical thinking, reasoning and problem-solving.

Important Considerations

  • The standards are NOT a federal directive or initiative. The CCSS are and continue to be led and implemented by states.
  • The standards were developed with significant input from K-12 educators, parents, students, scholars, representatives from higher education and business.
  • The standards are NOT a curriculum. While states collectively developed the standards, decisions about curriculum and teaching practices are made locally.
  • The standards define what students are expected to know and be able to do, not HOW teachers should teach.
  • The standards focus on what is MOST essential. They do not describe ALL that can or should be taught.
  • The standards do NOT define the nature of advanced work for students who meet the standards prior to the end of high school.
  • The standards have already been adopted, and our students will be tested on them in 2014-2015. We have responsibility for making sure our students are prepared to take these new assessments.
  • As we make the transition to the standards, our students will have even greater opportunity to engage with rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills.

Who Supports the Common Core State Standards?

California School Boards Association (CSBA)
Association of California School Administrators (ACSA)
California Teachers Association (CTA)
California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA)
California Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

Additional Resources

Common Core State Standards: An SVUSD Introduction for Parents
SVUSD Course Sequence Grade 7-12 (Beginning in 2014-15)
Engage NY:
Council of Great City Schools :
Letetr from UC, CSU, CCC, and AICCU Leaders – CA Dept of Ed



The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics build on the best of existing standards

and reflect the skills and knowledge students will need to succeed in college, career, and life. Understanding how the standards differ from previous standards—and the necessary shifts they call for—is essential to implementing them.

The following are the key shifts called for by the Common Core:

1. Greater focus on fewer topics

The Common Core calls for greater focus in mathematics. Rather than racing to cover many topics in a mile-wide, inch-deep curriculum, the standards ask math teachers to significantly narrow and deepen the way time and energy are spent in the classroom.

This means focusing deeply on the major work of each grade as follows:

  • In grades K–2: Concepts, skills, and problem solving related to addition and subtraction
  • In grades 3–5: Concepts, skills, and problem solving related to multiplication and division of whole numbers and fractions
  • In grade 6: Ratios and proportional relationships, and early algebraic expressions and equations
  • In grade 7: Ratios and proportional relationships, and arithmetic of rational numbers
  • In grade 8: Linear algebra and linear functions

This focus will help students gain strong foundations, including a solid understanding of concepts, a high degree of procedural skill and fluency, and the ability to apply the math they know to solve problems inside and outside the classroom.

2. Coherence: Linking topics and thinking across grades

Mathematics is not a list of disconnected topics, tricks, or mnemonics; it is a coherent body of knowledge made up of interconnected concepts. Therefore, the standards are designed around coherent progressions from grade to grade. Learning is carefully connected across grades so that students can build new understanding onto foundations built in previous years. For example, in 4th grade, students must “apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction by a whole number” (Standard 4.NF.4). This extends to 5th grade, when students are expected to build on that skill to “apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction or whole number by a fraction” (Standard 5.NF.4). Each standard is not a new event, but an extension of previous learning.

 Coherence is also built into the standards in how they reinforce a major topic in a grade by utilizing supporting, complementary topics. For example, instead of presenting the topic of data displays as an end in itself, the topic is used to support grade-level word problems in which students apply mathematical skills to solve problems.

3. Rigor: Pursue conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and application with equal intensity

Rigor refers to deep, authentic command of mathematical concepts, not making math harder or introducing topics at earlier grades. To help students meet the standards, educators will need to pursue, with equal intensity, three aspects of rigor in the major work of each grade: conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and application.

Conceptual understanding: The standards call for conceptual understanding of key concepts, such as place value and ratios. Students must be able to access concepts from a number of perspectives in order to see math as more than a set of mnemonics or discrete procedures.

Procedural skills and fluency: The standards call for speed and accuracy in calculation. Students must practice core functions, such as single-digit multiplication, in order to have access to more complex concepts and procedures. Fluency must be addressed in the classroom or through supporting materials, as some students might require more practice than others.

Application: The standards call for students to use math in situations that require mathematical knowledge. Correctly applying mathematical knowledge depends on students having a solid conceptual understanding and procedural fluency.



Common Core Domains and Conceptual Categories K-12

SVUSD Math Frameworks

Mathematics Habits of Mind

Claims for the Mathematics

Resources for Parents

The resources below are specifically designed to help parents support their students at home.

Parent Roadmap: Supporting Your Child in Grade Seven Mathematics

Parent Roadmap: Support Your Child in Grade Eight Mathematics

Parent Roadmap: Support your Child in High School Mathematics

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