The new Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics were designed to prepare students for the rigor and performance expectations of college and the workplace.
CCSS allow teachers to take a focused set of standards and teach them in depth. With these new standards, students in math classes will learn how to consider multiple ways to solve a problem and how to explain their rationale behind their answer. In English and other subjects, students will learn how to gather evidence from multiple sources to support a position in a classroom debate or to write an argumentative essay.
Since 1998, students in Grades 2 to 11 have taken the California Standards Test (CST) each spring. New tests currently being designed by Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) will replace the CST beginning in spring 2015. These tests will ask students to explain their thinking and apply their knowledge more than previous multiple-answer tests could. They also will give parents and students accurate information about whether students are on track to graduate high school and are ready for college and the workplace.
California has budgeted $1.25 billion to help implement CCSS. The money will be spent on the three areas designated by the California Department of Education: staff development, instructional materials and technology.