Teaching and Learning

Common Core State Standards

Please note: Starting in the 2014–2015 school year, the Washington State K–12 Learning Standards fully incorporated the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics.

Common Core is a real-world approach to learning and teaching. Developed by education experts from 45 states, these K-12 learning standards go deeper into key concepts in English language arts and mathematics. The standards require a practical, real-life application of knowledge that prepares Washington students for success in college, work and life.

Transition to the Common Core State Standards

The Initiative
In July 2009, Washington joined the Common Core Standards Initiative, a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop common, rigorous learning expectations. With different academic standards in every state and varying degrees of rigor, too many states had standards that did not prepare students for college or careers. The 48 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia concurred that students deserved clear, focused learning goals wherever they might live, and that common standards could promote collaboration across state lines in the development of instructional materials, assessments, and approaches to professional development.

Public Comment
The first draft of standards in English language arts and mathematics were posted for public comment in March 2010. Feedback from the larger K-12 community played a significant role in the development of the Common Core State Standards. A series of public comment periods made it possible for anyone to review and give feedback. In all, the Standards Development Group received more than 10,000 comments. When the new standards were in draft form, OSPI submitted feedback on the emerging content in the CCSS.

In July 2010, the Washington State Legislature authorized Superintendent Dorn to provisionally adopt the Common Core State Standards. As part of Washington’s process to consider adoption, in addition to review and input on the standards, was to conduct significant statewide outreach that culminated in two reports to the state Legislature in December 2010 and December 2011. In July 2011, Superintendent Dorn formally adopted the Common Core State Standards.

Comparative Analyses
OSPI facilitated two comparative analyses to evaluate the match between the Common Core State Standards and Washington standards. The first analysis was completed by Hanover Research as an external comparison of Washington to the Common Core State Standards (Downloads: Common Core and Washington State Reading, Writing and Communications Grade Level Expectations and Common Core and Washington State Mathematics Standards. The second comparative analysis was conducted by Washington educators. (Downloads: English Language Arts Washington State and Common Core State Standards and Mathematics Washington State and Common Core State Standards)

Bias and Sensitivity Report
A committee of 50 people—educators, parents, school administrators, curriculum directors, community members, and higher education faculty—reviewed the Common Core State Standards for bias and sensitivity. The committee released their findings in June 2011: Bias and Sensitivity Review of the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics: Implementation Recommendations Report.

Transition Plans
While districts could determine their own plan for implementing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, a three-year transition plan was provided for both English language arts and mathematics. (Downloads: Three-Year Transition Plan for Mathematics and Three-Year Transition Plan for English Language Arts)

Professional Development
OSPI’s Teaching & Learning team hosted (and continues to host) a quarterly webinar series focused on supporting district and educator implementation of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, and the Next Generation Science Standards. Access the webinar archive and sign up for future webinars here.

During the 2011-12 school year, OSPI and statewide educational partners, including the nine Educational Service Districts, began key transitional activities. This included advisory groups and developing regional support structures and materials. During the 2012–13 school year, the Common Core State Standards were rolled out to state teachers.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) developed and implemented an assessment system that is operational in the 2014-15 school year. This includes a Digital Library of professional development materials designed to help teachers. Learn more about Smarter Balanced tests and the Digital Library.

Transition Plan

   Updated 1/19/2018

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