The Common Core

best in classWhat it is and What it isn’t

Launched in 2009 by state leaders, the Common Core standards were implemented to ensure all students are graduating high school and prepared for a future career. Forty-three states have adopted the Common Core standards; however Texas is not one of them. While the state has not adopted Common Core, standardized tests and college entrance exams, such as the ACT and SAT, are being adjusted to reflect many of the same concepts as the Common Core. Parents and students in Texas should be prepared to understand what the Common Core is and what concepts students will be expected to know for these types of tests.

The Common Core goals are to define a clear set of standards that are the same throughout the country. Common Core is heavily focused on making sure students understand the “why” behind concepts, rather than just memorizing methods and formulas to get to an answer.

In the Common Core there are fewer topics covered in each grade compared to previous education standards, but the curriculum is more in-depth and comprehensive. Instead of having students cover as many topics as possible in each grade level, there is a greater emphasis on making sure students have a solid understanding of concepts before moving on to more difficult curricula. This is done through what Common Core calls “conceptual understanding and application,” meaning that students have to be able to connect concepts they have learned in addition to knowing how to apply what they know in problem solving.

Since there is more emphasis on in-depth understanding of each topic, teachers are using non-traditional methods of solving fundamental problems. This may cause some frustration for parents.

“Common Core has evoked emotionally charged frustration among parents, who feel that math specifically is now being taught differently than it was when they were in school,” said Victor Ho, Director of Math Curriculum Development at Best in Class. “They feel unable to help their children with homework.”

A common misconception about the Common Core is that it requires teachers to teach a certain way, which tends to be viewed as more complicated. However, the Common Core is simply a set of standards put in place with the goal of streamlining concepts that students across the country should understand at the completion of each grade level. Although it provides a clear outline for each grade level, local teachers know what works best in the classroom. This is why the Common Core standards establish what students need to learn, however it does not govern how educators should teach the material. Common Core standards do not provide any teaching materials and it is up to the school district to interpret the standards.

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Best in Class is targeting the addition of 20 additional units in 2014. The state of Texas has been identified as a key state for growth. The current team behind Best in Class is looking for passionate and dedicated individuals to join this premier franchise family and ensure our youth will excel academically.