Tutor Doctor | Jul 14, 2014

Understanding the Common Core State Standard Initiative

Categories: Tutoring, K-12, K12

The Common Core initiative was implemented in the U.S. for K-12 students and outlines what they should know and understand after completing each grade. The initiative focuses on English language and math skills and aims to create consistent standards across the country and ensure that students who graduate high school are adequately prepared to take college courses.

The Common Core only outlines what skills and knowledge students should have; it is up to each state to develop curricula that would help students. Experts agree that the standards require a higher level of understanding than the systems that were in place in many states. As a result, some states will have to improve their standards to be aligned with the common core. While the Common Core has been widely accepted, some states have reinstituted their own education standards rather than those proposed by the federal government.

Christopher Lien, Tutor Doctor Franchise owner, had this to say about the difficulties some states are having with the implementation of the Common Core Standard: “Misinformation or misunderstanding of the nature and objectives of Common Core have sometimes resulted in parents’ fear, cynicism, and skepticism. Homework can initially appear foreign from the parents’ prior experience, and some conclude they’re unable to assist their children with homework. A closer look and steady patience can help parents perceive the critical thinking aspect of the lesson, and eventually fears and unfamiliarity can subside. At the same time, the implementation of Common Core has increased the opportunity for tutors and supplemental education providers to assist students and families in succeeding with their studies,” he said.

Many elements of the Common Core have contributed to the improvement of the way in which students are educated. One of these is taking into consideration the learning styles of students so that the teacher is able to present information in a way that appeals to every learning style and is more inclusive.

Lien shares a story about his own child and how the Common Core has helped her to excel: “One of my daughters is a visual learner and was initially having difficulties understanding numbers. Multiplication and division didn’t come naturally for her. When presented with different visual methods of solving a multiplication problem, she rapidly increased in number sense skill and eventually became better able to solve problems without needing visual representations. The visual methods included grids of dots and rows and matrices of squares. Once she had rows or groups of ten squares, she could group them together to solve two-digit or three-digit problems.”

If your school or state is in the process of implementing Common Core, the best thing to do is to educate yourself. Schools and states have websites and information to help families with the transition. Be sure to ask your teacher where you can go to learn more about the new curriculums and what Common Core will mean for your children.

If your children are struggling with the transition, consider a private one-on-one tutor. Here the tutor will work with your family, the teacher and your child to find the missing skills and building blocks in their foundation. Teaching the skills will help your child to be an independent learner for life.