Oregon and the Common Core State Standards (an overview)

Conversation around implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Oregon is clipping right along.  The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are academic outcomes for K-12 based in part on the KSUS (Knowledge and Skills for University Success standards, 2003). CCSS are endorsed by the national governor’s association and have been adopted by most states. On October 28, 2010, Oregon’s  State Board of Education adopted the two sets of standards:

  • The CCSS for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (ELA)
  • The CCSS for Mathematics

I found this CCSS Factsheet from the Oregon Department of Education helpful.

Two testing organizations—PARCC and SMARTER Balanced—are developing assessments to be used to evaluate children at multi-year stages. Oregon has signed on for SMARTER Balance (you may have seen the ILAGO listserv message asking for quick feedback on the SMARTER Balanced draft). SMARTER Balanced is part of a consortium that has received federal grants under Race to the Top (we will be bound to use these assessment measures and not our locally developed OAKS test). Evaluating English language arts using standardized multiple-choice tests raises serious converns for higher ed writing and English faculty, and members of the Oregon Writing and English Advisory Committee (OWEAC) constituents are participating on the CCSS listserv and looking for opportunities to give input from a faculty/instructional perspective.

I’ve been talking to Trish Conlon from MidWillamette Education Consortium (MWEC). Trish is part of the CCSS stewardship team. I asked her for the most important points to share at the Oregon Community College Library Association (OCCLA) Directors’ meeting on March 9th and here are her notes:

•-The Common Core standards are different in that they didn’t come from a Department of Ed, but from industry and education working together.
•-The CCSS are more broad than existing standards and educators in a variety of disciplines are responsible for their coverage/implementation.
•-SMARTER Balanced assessment is not just multiple guess or just a writing prompt, but is over multiple days and includes group collaboration and synthesis of information to respond to the questions.
•-districts throughout the state are implementing on different timelines, but there is a guideline developed by the stewardship team to help guide the process.
•-there is a CCSS toolkit available online
“As community colleges we should be involved in conversations regarding what “college ready” means… If the goal for K-12 is for students to be college and career ready, then I think we need to make sure that they understand what that means!
I am working with Karen Marrongelle, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Standards and Collaborations with the Oregon University System. Karen will be joining us at the 2012 Oregon Information Literacy Summit on May 19th and will be providing information about the CCSS as part of our traditional morning update of IL around Oregon. Karen pointed out that ODE has a higher ed portal on their CCSS webpage and mentioned that OUS is putting together a FAQ which should be live soon.



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