New Illinois Learning Standards
Illinois joined more than 40 states in a collaborative effort to raise learning standards and improve college and career readiness for all students, regardless of where they live. The new Common Core State Standards establish clear expectations for what students should learn in English language arts and mathematics at each grade level. The standards are high, clear, and uniform to ensure that students are prepared for success in college and the workforce.
By emphasizing depth over breadth, the Common Core ensures that students have comprehensive understanding of key concepts. Illinois adopted the Common Core in 2010 and teachers and administrators across the state fully implemented the new standards during the 2013-14 school year. Many schools have already begun to incorporate elements of the new learning standards into their curricula. The Common Core determines what educators should teach, not how they should teach. Teachers will continue to have the freedom to tailor lesson plans to the individual needs of their students. The Common Core’s higher standards and emphasis on applying knowledge to real world situations will better prepare Illinois students for the challenges facing them after high school graduation.
Illinois has developed The Professional Learning Series (PLS) which is a repository for professional development resources and tools to assist with the various aspects of common core implementation. There are more than fifty topics with over two hundred associated strategies, tools, and support materials.
Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
Twenty-six states are working together in the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The new assessment system will greatly increase the number of graduating students who are ready to succeed after graduating. Illinois is one of 11 states serving on PARCC’s governing board, helping to lead the way.
These 26 states have adopted the new K-12 Common Core State Standards in English and math and are pooling their resources for an internationally benchmarked assessment system. New standards in other subjects are being developed, too. Students who score proficient on the assessments will be on track for success in college and the workplace. Younger schoolchildren will demonstrate they are on pace for high school.
The new online assessments, which will be ready for states to administer by the 2014-15 school year, will be better aligned with higher education demands. More than 200 higher education institutions across the 26 states have committed to participate in the partnership and will contribute to the design of the high school assessments.
Compared to traditional tests, the online assessments will aim to engage students in more meaningful demonstrations of their knowledge and understanding. The New Learning Standards incorporate more real-world situations so students can learn important skills to utilize in the workplace and higher education.
The online assessments will also provide teachers and administrators more feedback on student progress from K-12, allowing for them to better target and adjust instruction. Students and parents will also benefit from more information about performance compared to achievement standards, as well as state comparisons.
For more information on the Common Core State Standards, log onto www.corestandards.org.
• Internationally benchmarked
• 21st Century Skills