Standards-Based Education & Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
The State of California places a strong emphasis on implementing a standards-based curriculum. In language arts, mathematics, social science, and science, the State has defined specifically what students should know and be able to do in kindergarten through grade twelve.
In 2009, a national effort began to standardize standards across states. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA) committed to developing a set of standards that would help prepare students for success in career and college. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative resulted in the creation of common standards for English-language arts and mathematics, kindergarten through grade twelve. The standards are founded upon the best state standards; the experiences of teachers, content experts, and leading thinkers; and feedback from the general public. In addition, the standards are internationally benchmarked to the top performing nations to ensure that our students are globally competitive. Parents, educators, content experts, researchers, national organizations, and community groups from forty-eight states, two territories, and the District of Columbia all participated in the development of the standards. The CCSS are rigorous, research-based, and relevant to the real world. On August 2, 2010, the California State Board of Education (SBE) voted unanimously to adopt the CCSS. More information about the standards may be found on the CDE's CCSS Resources Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cc.
The textbooks approved by the State are aligned with the previous CA state standards in math, language arts, social studies, and science. As the CA budget allows, new textbook adoptions that support the new CCSS will begin in 2016. Until then, teachers are utilizing current textbooks and adjusting as necessary to meet CCSS requirements.
State tests are given to all students in grades 2-11 to indicate if students are meeting standards. The STAR CST's (Calfornia Standards Tests) will be replaced in 2015 with the new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) assessments, which will address the new Common Core State Standards. The California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), which every student must pass to graduate from high school, is based on current state standards. Each student is expected to meet grade-level standards, starting in elementary school, to be able to pass the CAHSEE.
|Standards-based education represents a major commitment to academic excellence. It is very important for students and parents to understand the terms and how the process works.
- Content standards state what are the most important skills or concepts for a student to know and/or to be able to do (i.e. new knowledge and skills to be learned in each subject and at each grade level.) Click here to view content standards for grades K-12 in 9 curriculum areas.
- Rubrics (also known as scoring guides) are often used to evaluate the quality of student work.
- Proficiency levels state the relative ability of students to equal or exceed the quality of work represented by performance models and are based on how well students do on specific proficiency assessments or tasks.
- Common Care State Standards (CCSS) are the new standards that were adopted by 48 states including California in 2010, "raising the bar" in terms of what students are expected to know and be able to do to be college and career ready upon graduating from high school. These standards are consistent across states.
- California Exit Exam (CAHSEE) is the examination that all students must pass, in addition to local graduation requirements, in order to earn a high school diploma.
|Teachers help your child to meet the required academic standards. Teachers focus instruction on standards identified for each subject in each grade level. Students are made aware of the standards being taught. Students are provided with information about how their work will be evaluated and how their level of proficiency will be determined. Teachers will continue to seek to modify instruction to meet a wide variety of learning styles and levels of ability.
Communicating Results to Parents
|The standards are summarized on a standards-based report card in grades K - 5. The report card indicates the status of your child's work toward reaching the end of the year proficiency level on each "key standard." Parents will know if their child is "below," "minimum" "proficient," or "advanced" on the standard represented.
District policy and California law may require retention for students who fail to meet standards. Please closely follow your child's progress and consult frequently with his or her teacher.
Helping Your Child Reach Required Standards
|Learning is a continuous process that involves the home as well as the school. Children need to see the relationship between the classroom learning experience and their lives out of school. Children benefit from the knowledge that parents are interested and supportive of their educational progress. The following are general guidelines for parental involvement in children's education:
- Establish a regular routine for the completion of homework.
- Provide a quiet time and place for study.
- Offer encouragement and help in completing assignments.
- Ensure daily school attendance - with no tardies.
- Maintain a positive manner about your child's school.
- Communicate frequently with your child's teacher.
Writing Guides and Rubrics
|Western Placer Unified School District uses Step Up to Writing as its elementary writing program. At the middle school level, teachers have been trained in the Jane Schaffer writing program. All students and teachers in grades 3 - 12 make use of the WPUSD Stylebook - an Interdisciplinary Guide to Writing as a guide for formal writing assignments.