Schools, teachers and publishers in over 40 states are busy training and preparing for full implementation of the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards were presented in 2010 and are America’s first attempt to institute federal guidelines on grade level expectations. Before Common Core, some states had created their own sets of standards so that students could move within the state and be assured that they were going to be held accountable for the same academic standards. In other words, if your student lived in the city and was taught multiplication in third grade and you moved in the middle of the year to the country, she would still be taught multiplication and wouldn’t be at risk of being ahead or behind of her peers.
America is an increasingly mobile society and families are moving not just across the state but, across the country. On top of that, educators are hearing more complaints that they are graduating students who do not have the skills needed for 21st Century jobs. Today’s jobs often require workers to collaborate, create, communicate and think critically. It was out of these needs that the Common Core State Standards(CCSS) were born. http://www.corestandards.org/. In addition, the developers looked at the habits of mind and best practices that were being used in high performing countries like Finland and Singapore. They discovered that in general these countries studied fewer topics within a school year and their instruction tended to be very focused. In fact, Singapore’s website boasts “Teach Less, Learn More.”
Today, three years after the Common Core State Standards for Reading and Math were published, a recent Gallup Poll (http://pdkintl.org/programs-resources/poll/) shows that more than 62% of Americans have never even heard of them despite the importance they hold, and so have no idea what will be required of their children. In very general terms, the standards call for more rigor, require students to use higher critical thinking skills, and ask them to apply their learning to real world situations. Employing the motto “Teach Less, Learn More,” the standards demand quality of instruction over quantity and as a result the number of math topics covered within a year has been decreased.
Educational book publishers are already incorporating the standards into their print product, and a few high quality IOS developers are doing the same. Because of these new rigors it is to parents and teachers advantage to seek out and purchase apps that are built to meet these new standards. Some apps like Tools4Students and CompareNContrast in the reading domain, and Splash Math have been developed with the new standards in mind. Everything has been included with the intent of helping students become successful in this new Common Core world. They give the rigorous practice called for and often call upon the student to reflect and defend their answers.
Common Core is due to be fully implemented in American schools in the fall of 2014. When purchasing apps that will be staying on devices for many years it is more important than ever to find apps that meet these new requirements and will therefore be valid in instruction long after the standards are formally in place.
Purchasing apps that are Common Core ready will ensure that your children will be one step ahead of the game and better prepared to conquer the 21 Century Skills employers are looking for.
Common Core State Standards http://www.corestandards.org/
Gallup Polls http://pdkintl.org/programs-resources/poll/
Common Core State Standards for Reading http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy
Common Core State Standards for Math https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/common-core-state-standards-for-math
CCSS toolbox for Math http://www.ccsstoolbox.com/