Parent Guide to Common Core
Right now, many parents are asking about the Common Core and wondering how it will impact their child’s education. This page is designed to answer questions about the new Common Core standards and provide resources to help parents support their children as they take on more rigorous learning challenges that will prepare them for the future.
Click here to watch a short video explaining Common Core.
Clic aquí para ver un video en español.
What is Common Core?
The Common Core State Standards are a set of learning standards for reading and math designed to help students master the skills necessary to succeed in college, compete globally for the best jobs, and become our future leaders.
The new standards raise the bar for all students, so that no matter what school you go to or where you live, your child is held to the same high standards and is challenged to read critically, understand math more deeply and learn how to solve problems.
What is the new Common Core test called SBAC?
Along with the new standards comes a new test, called SBAC, which stands for Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The SBAC test will replace the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) and Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT). This year, students in grades 3-8 and 11 will take the SBAC as a “field test,” which means the test will not count for scoring purposes this year. SBAC testing will occur in the spring, starting in April.
The CMT science test, in grade 5 and 8, and the CAPT science test, in grade 10, will continue to be given in March and scores made available for schools and students.
What can I expect with the SBAC test?
Students will take the SBAC test on the computer, so we are working with schools to make sure they have the right technology to support the tests. We are also working inside and outside the classroom and with community partners to provide opportunities for students to work on typing and computer schools in preparation for the test.
Students can expect to find the new test more challenging and questions more complex. Also, it is likely that test scores will go down initially with SBAC. That’s to be expected, because the material is more challenging. Remember that the goal is strengthen student learning and make sure all students have a chance to rise to success.
Do you have any tips for parents regarding these tests?
With Common Core, the emphasis is on critical thinking and problem solving. We are asking students to go deeper into literature and nonfiction texts and to use evidence to support their writing. In math, we are asking students to fully grasp one concept before moving on to the next, so the foundation of understanding is stronger.
Parents can help by reading with their children and asking them to talk about and explore ideas about what they read. Work with them on vocabulary, and encourage them to learn new words and try them out in sentences.
If you have questions about Common Core, talk to your child’s teacher or your school principal. Also, check out the Common Core Resources tab on the left for links to more information about Common Core.