The Common Core Standards
Learn more about the Standards, how they will shift English Language Arts teaching and learning, and find links to classroom and professional development resources for K–3 teachers. You'll also find information to share with parents about what they need to know to support their children.
The Basics: Common Core 101
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are an effort by states to define a common core of knowledge and skills that students should develop in K–12 education so they will graduate from high school prepared for college or careers. The standards were first released in 2010; by the end of 2012 these shared standards have been adopted by 45 states plus the District of Columbia.
The CCSS initiative has been led by the states, with coordination by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). To write the standards, the NGA Center and CCSSO brought together content experts, teachers, researchers, and others. The public was invited to comment on the drafts, and more than 10,000 comments were received. Learn more about how the standards were developed.
What’s happening in your state?
Find out if your state has adopted the standards by looking at the map on the CCSS website. Because the initiative is state-driven, implementation timelines will vary for each state. Visit the CCSSO website for easy access to the latest information about what is going on in your state. Just click your state name on the interactive map and you’ll link to your state's department of education for detailed information about implementation, support for instruction, professional development resources, assessment guidelines, and much more.
Key shifts for English language arts and literacy
Children with disabilities
English language learners
Guides for teachers
Building the Foundation: A Suggested Progression of Sub-skills to Achieve the Reading Standards: Foundational Skills in the Common Core State Standards
This guide from the Center on Instruction contains five sections, each targeting one grade level in: Print Concepts, Phonological Awareness, Phonics and Word Recognition, and Fluency. It also includes instructional examples aligned to the sub-skills, giving teachers samples of activity types that facilitate acquisition of the sub-skills. Each chart includes up to three grade levels to inform instruction for students who are either struggling and need extra support or intervention, or for students performing above grade-level expectations and require enrichment. See guide >
Student Center Activities Aligned to the Common Core State Standards
This publication from the Center on Instruction helps educators create differentiated reading instruction experiences for their students by showing the relationship between two distinct resources: Student Center Activities (SCAs), created by the Florida Center for Reading Research for K–5 classroom teachers as differentiated reading activities for use in small student groups, and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). See guide >
In 2010 the US Department of Education awarded two contracts to two different consortia to develop two sets of assessment systems for states to choose from as a part of their implementation of the CCSS.
PARCC: Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a consortium of states working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers. Learn more >
Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
The SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium is a state-led consortium working to develop next-generation assessments that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and that accurately measure student progress toward college and career readiness. Learn more >
Nonfiction and the Common Core
In this video interview, nonfiction children's author and historian Marc Aronson talks about why he thinks the new Common Core State Standards could be transformational to teaching and learning. Aronson says that the Common Core supports close, rigorous reading of informational text and encourages students to ask "what's the evidence?" He makes the case that reading across texts to uncover a full range of facts and opinions helps strengthen critical thinking skills.
Aronson suggests ways that parents can encourage their kids to read nonfiction books. He also invites teachers to turn to librarians for their expertise in identifying really great nonfiction for the classroom. You can see an extended interview with Aronson here.
See also Topics A-Z: Common Core Standards