Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Common Core State Standards initiative?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative is a collaborative effort led by the National Governor's Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) with partners and leaders across education and business, aimed at establishing a shared set of clear educational standards for English/Language Arts and Mathematics that states can voluntarily adopt.


2. How will states assess the CCSS?

Two consortia have been awarded competitive grant funds by the US Department of Education to develop student assessment systems aligned to the new standards. SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) was awarded a four-year $176 million grant, and Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) was awarded a grant of $170 million. Assessments are expected to be implemented in 2014.


3. What will the CCSS implementation plans need to address?

No governance has been put in place yet so the specifics of implementation are still unfolding as states sign on to the new standards. It is expected that implementation plans will need to address the following items:

  • Developing research-based practices using the CCSS
  • Developing teacher training and professional development
  • Researching and aligning instructional materials
  • Incorporating formative and summative assessments

4. Are there instruction guidelines for the new CCSS?

No, the standards tell what students need to know and be able to do for College and Career Readiness. They do not tell teachers how to teach. The examples given in the CCSS document are meant to be just that.


5. What do the CCSS mean for Reading?

In Reading/ELA the new standards:

  • Support a balance of literacy and informational texts
  • Emphasize text complexity, canonical texts and text evidence
  • Include vocabulary, with an emphasis on academic vocabulary
  • Integrate history/social studies, science and media/technology
  • Emphasize multiple texts and critical/evaluative reading

6. What do the CCSS mean for Mathematics?

Key factors for Mathematics include:

  • Shifting from mile-wide, inch-deep curriculum to deepen understanding of the most critical key topics at each grade level
  • Further enhancing mastery of key grade level topics through coherent progressions across grade levels
  • Striking a balance between building conceptual understanding and increasing procedural fluency
  • Encouraging critical thinking and problem solving skills students need to be successful 21st century thinkers

7. Given the number of exemplary text examples in the CCSS, has a literary canon been established for use by schools?

No, teachers and schools have the freedom to develop a canonical list that could include the examples, but they are free to draw from any appropriate literature or reading materials. Note that the Common Core examples are drawn primarily from the public domain.


8. What resources are available to help bridge between current standards and the new CCSS?

Most of McGraw-Hill's current programs retain their state standards alignments and have also been correlated to the new common core standards. Contact us for more information about how to implement these programs successfully.

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