What it is, what it is not
Hawaii Common Core Standards are a call to take another leap forward in our efforts toward ensuring that all of our students graduate from high school college-, career- and community-ready. The aim was to create a set of common learning expectations for Mathematics and for English Language Arts/Literacy in subjects including literature, history, social studies, science and technical subjects.
It's important to note that the
Common Core is not curriculum or teaching methods, but standards. Standards define what students should understand and be able to do at each grade level. Schools and teachers choose curriculum, and choose how standards are taught in the classroom.
Put another way, the standards are the platform from which teachers and schools can innovate. See how the Kailua-Kalaheo Complex Area is approaching the standards in the video, above.
Schools began phased implementation of Common Core in 2011-2012 with grades K-2 and 11-12, and full implementation in 2013-2014. Teachers are working collaboratively with principals and leadership to design educational tools and practices that best deliver on these standards.
The Common Core will help the state reach its goals of greater college attendance, readiness and graduation for our keiki. Learn more on the
Hawaii P-20 page.
New standards are triggering three major changes in instruction:
Teachers will focus on the most important topics for each grade level allowing your child to develop a deeper understanding of mathematical ideas and skills.
Teachers will provide more opportunities for students to make connections between the mathematics they learn from grade to grade.
Students will still be expected to know their “math facts” and compute using efficient strategies. Along with those expectations, learning experiences will help students to understand why those strategies and skills work and how to apply them to solve problems that arise everyday life experiences and other real-world situations.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS/LITERACY
- There is an increased emphasis on building a strong vocabulary so that your child can read and understand challenging material.
Teachers will provide more challenging reading and ask more questions that will require your child to refer back to a passage he or she has read.
In addition to stories and literature, there will be more reading that provides facts and background knowledge in science and social studies.
Hawaii's educators have selected a consistent set of statewide instructional materials aligned to the new Hawaii Common Core standards to support teachers and students. The
Curriculum Materials Review Summary Report provides an overview of Hawaii's vetting and selection process.
The Department believes in a balanced approach of "standardization" (high expectations and high-quality foundational materials for classroom use) and "customization" (through teachers’ individual decisions and instructional practices). While teachers use a consistent set of materials as a primary resource, they are still expected to be innovative and creative to address their students’ learning needs.
The Assessment: Smarter Balanced
Our schools are transitioning from the Hawaii State Assessment to a new statewide test aligned to the Common Core.
The Smarter Balanced exam had a test-run in the 2013-14 school year, and is being implemented in 2014-15.