Skills Set Drafted For Students Nationwide


The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a joint effort by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in partnership with Achieve, ACT and the College Board. Governors and state commissioners of education from across the country have created a state-led process to develop a common core of state standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12.

According to their web site at, these standards will be research and evidence-based, internationally benchmarked, aligned with college and work expectations and include rigorous content and skills. The NGA Center and CCSSO are coordinating the process to develop these standards and have created an expert validation committee to provide an independent review of the common core state standards, as well as the grade-by-grade standards.

In math, the goal is to have students “solve systems of equations; find and interpret rates of change; and adapt probability models to solve real-world problems.” In English and language arts, the goal is to have students be able to “analyze how word choices shape the meaning and tone of a text; develop a style and tone of writing appropriate to a task and audience; and respond constructively to advance a discussion and build on the input of others.”

There is still much work and research to be done if a national consensus on education is to be adopted, but one thing is certain: Students from the United States need to be prepared to compete in the global marketplace among students from Asia and Europe. With education reform inevitable, here are some important questions to consider:

· Could standards be developed by type of student? College-bound, career-school bound?

· Could we identify skills that will make students successful no matter what path they choose and emphasize cross-curricular learning?

· How can we better work with the initiatives such as the 21century skills, which foster critical thinking, technological literacy, cross-curricular core-competencies and global knowledge needed to compete with counterparts world-wide?

Whatever standards are developed, the voice of Higher Education and employers will need to be heard. Learning needs to be linked to success in the working world. To fuel our economy of the future, students will need knowledge, skills and the initiative to tackle the toughest problems with confidence, competence and faith that the solutions—while difficult and elusive—can and will come with a quality mindset and follow-through.


Skills Set Drafted For Students Nationwide
By Nick Anderson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Experts convened by the nation’s governors and state schools chiefs on Monday proposed a set of math and English skills students should master before high school graduation, the first step toward what advocates hope will become common standards driving instruction in classrooms from coast to coast.

The proposal aims to lift expectations for students beyond current standards, which vary widely from state to state, and establish for the first time an effective national consensus on core academic goals to help the United States keep pace with global competitors. Such agreement has proven elusive in the past because of a long tradition of local control over standards, testing and curriculum.

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