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The Many Facets of Common Core Standards Based Education – Part 1



This blog is comprised of information from research on the subject of Common Core Education.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an educational initiative in the United States that details what K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade.

The Great School Partnership, in the Glossary of Education Reform

In education, the term standards-based refers to systems of instruction, grading, and academic reporting that are based on students demonstrating understanding or mastery of the knowledge and skills they are expected to learn, as they progress through their education. In a school that uses standards-based approaches to educating students, learning standards – i.e., concise, written descriptions of what students are expected to know and be able to do as a specific stage of their education – determine the goals of a lesson or course, and teachers then determine how and what to teach students so they achieve the learning expectations described in the standards.

In the United States, most standards-based approaches to educating students use state learning standards to determine academic expectations and define “proficiency” in a given course, subject area, or grade level. The general goal of standards-based learning is to ensure that students are acquiring the knowledge and skills that they are deemed to be essential to success in school, higher education, careers, and adult life. If students fail to meet expected learning standards, they typically receive additional instruction, practice time, and academic support to help them achieve proficiency or meet the learning expectations described in the standards.

Standards-Based vs. Standards-Referenced

The distinction between standards-based and standards-referenced is often a source of confusion among educators and the public; in part because the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but also because the distinction between the two is both subtle and nuanced. In brief, standards-referenced means that what gets taught or tested is “referenced” to or derived from learning standards (i.e., standards are the source of the content and skills taught to students). Standards-based refers to the practice of making sure students learn what they are taught to actually achieve, the expected standards for “proficiency”.