|B-004| The Common Core

Hello Exam Seekers,

Those of you who are entering the bilingual world or have been working at bilingual schools should be familiar with The Common Core. If you are not, today is the day to understand a little bit of it.


“Why should I know what The Common Core is? I’ve been working at a bilingual school for a while and I have never heard of it“. I say you should learn about it because The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). It was implemented in the United States to outline what a student should know by the end of each school year.

It is like the CEFR, however, it doesn’t fit only for people who try for the Cambridge exams, it is applicable to all the students enrolled in the regular school. It is a way to ensure that all the students who graduate from high school know (at least were taught) the same thing and that they gave the necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live. For grades K-8, grade-by-grade standards exist in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. For grades 9-12, the standards are grouped into grade bands of 9-10 grade standards and 11-12 grade standards.

According to the website: corestandards.orgFor years, the academic progress of our nation’s students has been stagnant, and we have lost ground to our international peers. Particularly in subjects such as math, college remediation rates have been high. One root cause has been an uneven patchwork of academic standards that vary from state to state and do not agree on what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.” The U.S. only then they realized that they needed a standard, they needed consistent learning goals across their states and in 2009 school chiefs and governors were gathered and with the help of experts in the field, they designed a consistent framework for educators.

The standards are:

  1. Research- and evidence-based
  2. Clear, understandable, and consistent
  3. Aligned with college and career expectations
  4. Based on rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills
  5. Built upon the strengths and lessons of current state standards
  6. Informed by other top performing countries in order to prepare all students for success in our global economy and society

With these standards, teachers will be more able to measure students progress throughout the school year. So far, forty-one states have adopted The Common Core:

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Source: Achieve, “Closing the Expectations Gap 2013 Annual Report on the Alignment of State K-12 Policies and Practice with the Demands of College and Careers.”

Some extra information about The Common Core is that these standards do not define how they should be taught or which materials should be used to support students. States and districts recognize that there will need to be a range of supports in place to ensure that all students, including those with special needs and English language learners, can master the standards. It is up to the states to define the full range of supports appropriate for these students.


Now let’s go back to the beginning of the text where I said that we – ESL/EFL teachers – should know about The Common Core. You could ask me why you should learn about it if you are not a basic education teacher in the USA, the answer is that, even though most of us don’t plan on or will not teach at an American school, most schools in your country are adopting The Common Core standards. Publishers like Richmond has adopted it to several of their books like Compass. Besides that, some international schools also adopt the system.

So before you start working for a school or adopting a book for your students, get informed and check if the material is prepared according to The Common Core. It’s nice if you have some information on what you are going to work with, okay?

Well… I hope that this was useful for you and if it was, please, comment in the comment section below! 🙂

Have a great weekend,

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