What Is Common Core

What Is Common Core?

The Basics

Simply put, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is a set of high-quality educational standards for K-12 math and English language arts/literacy (ELA). The standards include learning goals which list what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each school year. The Common Core standards were created to ensure that all students graduate high school with the ability to take credit-bearing introductory classes in two-year or four-year university programs and with the capacity to succeed in their careers.

Since 2010, 42 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories, have adopted the standards and are working towards implementing them. Adoption is voluntary; each state can decide whether they want to adopt Common Core as their state’s standards.


How Are Common Core Standards Different Than Previous Standards?

Common Core standards were created by using the best standards in the U.S., looking into the standards and expectations of high-performing countries, and thoroughly studying the research on what students need to know to be successful in a university and beyond. Teachers and parents were included as well, to ensure that the standards are practical.


Why Is Common Core Important?

These uniform, high-quality standards help ensure that students will have the knowledge and skills they need going into universities and workplaces, regardless of which state they live in. The standards are in line with expectations of colleges, workforce training programs, and employers. They also allow states to collaborate on a number of tools and policies, such as the development of textbooks and materials and comprehensive assessment systems.


The Common Core standards will continue to be managed by individual states and participation will continue to be voluntary. You can find the Common Core standards online, as well as information about which states have implemented the standards, when they implemented them, and by whom they were adopted.