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New York is known as a state full of diversity. It was the 11th state to enter the Union. So, it’s probably no wonder that it adopted the common core standards when the nation was seeking out a standardised way to define and articulate how children in schools were taught and tested. On January 10th, 2011; the Board of Regents approved these learning standards. This amounted to them adding certain portions to their existing state standards so that they were aligned with common core.

English Language Arts (ELA) and Literacy are areas of focus. Grades prekinderarten through 12 have seen a few differences in their classroom dynamics because of Common Core. ELA and Literacy shows up in History, Science and Social Studies in new ways, as well. This is one new dynamic, known as the cross-disciplinary literacy expectations.

With Common Core Standards there is now a national benchmark that governs how adopting states teach their skills and pass on the required knowledge.

The bottom line is that the Empire State is pulling all stops in order to have students graduate from high school ready in the literacy realm. Along with common core came new learning modules for teachers to use in their instruction. In other words, curriculum materials changed in some instances.

Some of the language amounts to addressing what this college and workforce readiness will look like. Words along the lines of “aligned with college and work expectations,” shows up; meaning that the high school graduate should already be postured to hit the ground running in college if they choose that route, or to easily adapt to the requirements of a job.

Even though the over-arching requirements look at getting students at this point by the end of their high school years, there’s also end-of-school-year requirements along the way. In addition to endof-school-year requirements, there are requirements that students meet certain benchmarks throughout the year. Every year they are expected to start off with the knowledge gained from the previous year in their arsenal and then be able to build upon that knowledge with more depth. Testing requirements involve using technology based assements and require the use of education headphones.

In ELA and Literacy, as well as other subjects, there are broad requirements and then specific requirements that go into more detail. For example, students have to show that they have the ability to gather, grasp, valuate, synthesize and report on information and ideas. That’s a broad requirement. What this looks like in more specificity is that they need to use media in order to accomplish this, that they should be able to tailor online searches using some offline information and that they have to know the limits of each type of technology so they can select the one more appropriate for a particular search goal.

Another common core addition is that students need to have exposure to increasingly more different reading text as they progress. Teachers now have tools to assess the reading passages for their level of complexity. This tool enables them to tell if one text is more difficult than another. In other words, there’s no guesswork involved when a teacher has to determine where the more difficult text is for the next lesson.


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