Apr 22, 2018
Since its introduction, states across the US have had varying reactions to Common Core. For tutors, though they may have seen students’ needs differ across state lines, the underlying objective has remained the same - help students progress, reach their goals, and prepare for the future.
Back to Basics
In 2009, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were born. Designed to guarantee that all K-12 students across the nation were upheld to the same standards and diminish variations from state to state, the standards aimed to ensure that all students were prepared for life beyond graduation. From its origin to current day, the CCSS focus on math and English language arts and in large aim for students to use critical thinking skills in order to understand concepts, rather than simply memorizing material.
Just a Change or Two
Initially, 48 states adopted the CCSS - since it’s implementation, 21 have completed or are in the process of completing revisions. In early 2017, a study reviewing 9 of the revision states showed that changes mainly involved general wording clarification, adding to current standards, and creating new standards and specific skills to grade levels. The adjustments made did not drastically alter the CCSS, as only 1% related to deleting standards, while 68.5% of revisions were clarification based.
Most states that have been in contact with the CCSS at some point, whether using the original or revised version or having since dropped the standards completely, use assessments that are at least somewhat aligned with the Common Core.
States that still maintain the Common Core name will not see any significant changes to 2018 assessments, while those who have revised standards may gain some valuable insight on completed tests. Assessments in California will remain the same, but teachers will receive reports that provide student answers, questions, and more details in regards to how questions connect to the standards. Students, however, shouldn’t notice any differences in testing.
Some states that have withdrawn from the CCSS will see more significant changes in assessments in 2018. Tennessee, which dropped the Common Core name in 2016, had been using their own test - TNReady – in past years. While the assessment was using the CCSS as guidelines, it will now be based on Tennessee’s own standards, the Tennessee Academic Standards. Further north, New York testing will still be based on the CCSS until 2020, but testing days have been shortened to two days rather than three, and overall the number of questions has been significantly lowered.
While the majority of the seven states that never adopted Common Core won’t see any upcoming changes, Texas has added an online testing option for students, while 2018 will be the final year Indiana tests through ISTEP, moving to ILEARN in 2019.
Here is a full breakdown of state assessments from 2016-2017. For the latest, check your specific state’s updated assessments on their education home page.
Tutoring and the Standards
Tutors who are accustomed to lesson plans involving the CCSS will likely see some variation in sessions due to revised or replaced standards. Some standards have only been clarified, some have been moved to different grade levels, and others have been changed completely. Tutors should familiarize themselves with their state’s standards to better understand what their students needs will be in the coming years as assessments regarding these changes take place. Tutors can view what states aligned with Common Core in 2013 here and can follow the link to their state’s education home page to get more information on current standards.
Additionally, as assessments resulting from new or revised standards begin, tutors may see a rise in business due to parents’ unfamiliarity with the requirements (similar to when the CCSS were implemented). Even now, understanding and offering services for the new standards can help tutors reach more clients.
Whether using the original Common Core, a revised version, or something entirely new, it’s important for tutors to recognize what it is their students need – from grasping a concept to being further challenged – and support them to reach their academic goals.