Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

Here is some basic information about the Common Core State Standards with links to site where you can find far more detail:

California, along with 44 other states have adopted a common set of academic standards in language arts (reading and writing)  and mathematics.  These Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were commissioned for development by the National Governor’s Association and the Association of State School Chiefs.  You can read the standards themselves on the California Department of Education’s website or there is a free app – eStandardsLite which has the standards organized into a easily readable format. The Curriculum section of the PAUSD website has some very helpful information for parents about how to read these standards.

The changes brought on by the CCSS include a shift to more reading of informational text at all grade levels and teaching children to reference the text when discussing or writing about their reading.

In math, fewer concepts will be taught in greater depth each year with significantly more emphasis on applying concepts in solving mathematical problems.  There is greater coherence among the standards within each grade level and across grade levels in order to help students make important connections between mathematical concepts.  The new standards have been aligned more closely with the standards of other nations whose students perform very well on international assessments.

You will also find much more detail about these standards on the CCSS website.

We began to implement these new standards in the area of writing instruction during the 2013-14 school year.  This work continues into the present school year and expands to include work in adjusting our math curriculum to include more focused time on problem solving.

State of California Annual testing of 3rd through 5th graders

3rd through 5th grade students  take grade level assessments in reading, writing and math based on these standards in late April each year.  The assessments are administered through an online system created and operated by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.  The Smarter Balanced Assessments for 3rd through 5th graders are administered on computers or iPads.  This makes it important for students in grades three to five to have reasonable facility with keyboarding in order to focus on the test questions rather than the task of finding the letters on a keyboard to form their answers.

The assessments are intended to be “adaptive” meaning that the questions presented to a student on the assessment will adjust somewhat based on the student’s responses.  If the student is responding correctly, the questions will increase in difficulty.  If, instead, the student is responding incorrectly, the questions will decrease in difficulty.

Tests are available for everyone to preview. There is a Practice Test for each of grades 3 through 8 and grade 11 in both English–language arts and math. Each Practice Test has about 30 questions. Examples of classroom activities, rubrics, and scoring guides that accompany the various item types are available here.

Fifth graders (as well as older students) will still take a new test in science this year (2017) aligned with the recently adopted Next General Science Standards.  It is a field test of items and, as such, individual scores will not be reported to schools or families.