On June 12, 2012 ACTE and America's Promise Alliance held a joint webinar on bridging the gap between CTE and the Common Core State Standards, using the example of the Missouri Center for Career and Technical Education. You can download the webinar or just the slides, plus read Achieve's report on the topic.
The Hunt Institute and the Council of Chief State School Officers have commissioned a series of video vignettes that explain the Standards in far greater depth.
The Teaching Channel includes interviews with educators who are piloting Common Core State Standards in career academies and other learning environments.
Common Core State Standards
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort launched in 2009. Its membership includes 48 states, two territories and the District of Columbia, under the coordination of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards are designed to outline the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education to prepare them for success in college and career. The English-language arts and mathematics standards for grades K-12 were released on June 2, 2012.
Key Points in the English-language Arts Standards:
- Progressive development of reading comprehension through “staircase” approach of increasing complexity in materials.
- Mandating certain critical types of content for all students, including classic myths and stories from around the world, foundational U.S. documents and seminal works of American literature.
- Writing logical arguments based on substantive claims, sound reasoning, and relevant evidence, with opinion writing extending down into the earliest grades.
- Expanding student vocabularies through a mix of conversations, direct instruction, and reading.
- Integration of media and technology throughout the standards.
Key Points in Mathematics Standards:
- Providing K-5 students with a solid base in whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and decimals.
- Stressing not only procedural skill but also conceptual understanding, to make sure students are learning and absorbing the critical information.
- Practicing the application of mathematical ways of thinking to real world issues and challenges; preparing students to think and reason mathematically.
- Establish a rigorous definition of college and career readiness, by helping students develop a depth of understanding and ability to apply mathematics to novel situations.
- Emphasize mathematical modeling, the use of mathematics and statistics to analyze empirical situations.
Currently, 45 states, along with the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands and Northern Mariana Islands, have formally adopted the Common Core State Standards.
Career readiness is a key component of the Common Core State Standards. The standards provide an opportunity for integration of CTE and core academic curricula. More information on Common Core State Standards and the CTE connection can be found in an article that appeared in Techniques. ACTE endorses the Common Core State Standards and its emphasis on both college and career readiness.
During ACTE’s 2011 Annual Convention & Career Tech Expo, a breakout session titled “Common Core State Standards: Making the CTE Connection” focused on early state activities supporting teachers as they prepare to implement the Common Core State Standards. The slides from the presentation are available here.
“The K-12 standards work recognizes that students in the United States are now competing in an international environment and will need to meet international benchmarks to remain relevant in today’s workplace. We are pleased that both college and career readiness have been considered as the standards were developed and view this work as foundational in the effort to address the full range of academic, employability and technical skills that students need to be successful. ACTE looks forward to working with NGA, CCSSO and states as the K-12 standards are implemented.”
—Janet Bray, CAE, Executive Director, Association for Career and Technical Education
Common Core Assessment Consortia
Through the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top initiative, the U.S. Department of Education is supporting the work of two consortia that are developing assessments aligning to the Common Core State Standards. The Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the SMARTER Balanced Consortium (SBAC) are the state-led consortia being funded by federal Comprehensive Assessment Systems Grants. The focus of their work is on developing assessment systems that aligns with common and college- and career-ready standards.
PARCC has released its Model Content Frameworks and SBAC is in the process of developing content specifications for English language arts/literacy and mathematics. The content frameworks are designed to provide guidance on implementation of the Common Core State Standards and to serve as a bridge between the standards and the assessments. The specifications will set targets by grade level based on the standards and can be used to develop assessment blueprints and test items.