Common Core State Standards

About the Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards initiative (Common Core) is a state-led effort to provide appropriate academic benchmarks for all U.S. students, regardless of where they live. The standards:

  • Align with college and work expectations
  • Are clear, understandable and consistent
  • Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills
  • Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards
  • Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society
  • Are evidence-based

Key Information

  • 46 states and Washington, DC have formally adopted the Common Core, but three—Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina—have withdrawn their adoption 
  • While most high-quality, school-based or school-linked afterschool programs already align with the capacities and practices that underlie the Common Core, typically these connections tend to be implicit
  • Few programs connect capacities and practices from implicit to explicit and to strongly connect their learning targets to the academic content and skills in the Common Core
  • Descriptions of knowledge, skills and dispositions that operate in tandem with the academic content in the standards are known as “habits of mind”— although they are not easily assessed, they are extremely important to be successful in a rapidly-changing global economy

Strategies to Support Common Core State Standards

  • Determine whether or not your state has adopted the Common Core, which assessment consortia your state has joined and your state’s implementation plan and timeline—most states have posted an implementation plan on the state education agency’s website
  • Identify similarities and differences between the Common Core and afterschool and expanded learning standards and competencies, and align both
  • Use existing connections with state board of education members and leaders in the state education agency to become part of the state’s implementation plan
  • Connect afterschool and expanded learning providers to district-based or state-led professional development around the Common Core and the new state assessments
  • Distribute existing resources for parents on what the Common Core mean for their children

General Publications

This brief explores ways to strengthen expanded learning opportunities by building their connection to the Common Core State Standards Initiative.