Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Misconceptions about Common Core

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Misconceptions about Common Core

Article excerpt

Educators who think the Common Core State Standards are more of the same should spend more time studying the standards, say Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins in a new paper. "Moving from standards to curriculum requires careful reading and thoughtful interpretation to avoid the predictable misunderstandings, while building the curriculum backward from worthy tasks offers the pathway to the performances envisioned by the Common Core," the authors write.

They suggest five big ideas about how educators can effectively use the Common Core to design a coherent curriculum and assessment system for realizing their promise.

* Big Idea 1: The Common Core State Standards have new emphases and require a careful reading. Trying to retrofit the standards into existing teaching and testing practices will undermine the standards. School leaders need to convene staff and carefully read the "front matter" with this essential question in mind: What are the new distinctions in these standards, and what do they mean for our practice?

* Big Idea 2: Standards are not curriculum the Common Core is about the outcomes that students should achieve. Nothing in the Common Core dictates how teachers should teach.

* Big Idea 3: Educators must "unpack" the standards. McTighe and Wiggins recommend that educators read the standards with these categories in mind:

(a) Long-term transfer goals. What do we want students to be able to do when they confront new and sometimes complex problems in and outside school?

(b) Overarching understandings and essential questions. …

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