LEARNING STANDARDS FAQs
What are learning standards?
The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics are Washington’s K-12 State Learning Standards. Learning standards are concise, clearly articulated descriptions of what students should know and be able to do at a specific stage of their educational journey (e.g., by the end of each grade level). Common Core State for ELA and math were formally adopted in July 2011.
Are the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and math better than Washington’s previous academic standards in these subjects?
Yes, the Common Core standards are more rigorous than Washington’s previous learning standards in these subjects. They focus on key career and college readiness content and skills including more critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The standards are designed to build upon the most advanced current thinking about preparing all students for success in college and their careers. The standards were informed by the best standards in the United States and internationally.
How do Washington’s former math standards compare with Common Core standards?
According to a Thomas B. Fordham study, our former state math standards are clear and challenging, just like the Common Core standards. However, the Common Core standards are more comprehensive because they help students connect their learning within and across grades, so each topic includes and builds on the ones before it.
Major Shifts in Math:
The Fordham study found that our former English language arts state standards are weaker than the Common Core standards. The Common Core English language arts standards (which include reading, writing, and communication) will improve student learning with higher expectations that are aligned to college-entrance requirements. They also complement what students are learning in other subjects like social studies and science.
These standards provide students with more opportunities to build knowledge through content-rich fiction, nonfiction, and informational texts (such as scientific articles or historical documents). Students will use the facts and evidence from the text as the basis for their reading and writing practice, and learn how to understand both complex texts and academic vocabulary.
Major Shifts in English Language Arts:
How will teachers support English language learners in meeting Common Core?
OSPI is working with school districts to train teachers, share resources and apply best practices that support English language learners. Washington state formally adopted new English Language Proficiency Standards to support language instruction grounded in the English language arts and math. These new standards will help teachers support the language development of our English language learners.
Here are some ways teachers can support English language learners while keeping the high expectations of the Common Core standards:
How will teachers support students with special needs in meeting Common Core?
OSPI is teaming up with school districts to provide teachers with more information, training, and support so that we can help our students with special needs. Here are some ways teachers can support students with special needs in accessing Common Core:
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