Common Core State Standards

The overall goal of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is to provide a clear and uniform understanding of what students are expected to learn.

Developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators and experts, the Standards draw upon the most effective curriculum models from across the nation and the world. They fully align with college and career expectations, and include rigorous content that requires students to use critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving.

The standards are designed to provide students with a deep understanding of math and English language arts concepts that can be applied to the real world, especially college and careers. These standards are replacing the current New York state learning standards. To date, 46 states have adopted similar common core standards.

How does the Common Core affect students?

In order for New York to be truly aligned to Common Core Standards, twelve main areas, or 12 “shifts”  These practices  will help students improve their abilities and help districts align materials. The “shift” encourages students to investigate, make discoveries and think more deeply in all subjects.

ELA shifts include:

  • Balancing information and literary text: Reading as much non-fiction as fiction; learning about the world by reading;
  • Building knowledge in the disciplines: Reading challenging material closely;
  • Staircase of Complexity: discussing reading using evidence;
  • Text-Based Answers: writing non-fiction using evidence;
  • Academic Vocabulary: Increasing Academic vocabulary usage.

Math shifts include:

  • Focus: learning about fewer, key topics;
  • Coherence: Building skills within and across grades;
  • Fluency: Developing speed and accuracy;
  • Deep Understanding: Really knowing it, really doing it;
  • Applications: Using it in the real world;
  • Dual Intensity: thinking fast AND solving problems.

Why are standards important?

Think of the Common Core State Standards as a road map for learning which will allow for greater consistency and the strengthening of our educational process nationwide.

The Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn. This allows teachers and parents to know what they need to help students. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy of today and tomorrow.

Common Core Standards will change the way instruction is delivered to students – and how educators will teach our children.

As educators with years of experience working in New York State, Goshen administrators and teachers have never before had to adjust and align the educational program to such significant change in curriculum and instruction at one time.

While teachers and administrators begin learning and training for the changes in education that are now upon us, it is hoped that parents will view this as an opportunity for the district to enhance education for their children, and for parents to partner with district staff supporting good attendance, study skills and behaviors.

The knowledge gained during professional development time this year and in years to come will help align instruction in our school district with new standards. The school district is working to prepare teachers to deliver lessons for the 21st Century – which will improve instruction for students.

What do the new standards look like?

(Adapted from

Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy

These standards set requirements not only for English language arts (ELA) but also for literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. Just as students must learn to read, write, speak, listen, and use language effectively in a variety of content areas, so too must the standards specify the literacy skills and understanding required for college and career readiness in multiple disciplines.

As a natural outgrowth of meeting the charge to define college and career readiness, the standards also lay out a vision of what it means to be a literate person in the twenty-first century. Indeed, the skills and understandings students are expected to demonstrate have wide applicability outside the classroom or workplace.

Students who meet the standards readily undertake the close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding and enjoying complex works of literature. They habitually perform the critical reading necessary to pick carefully through the staggering amount of information available today, both print and digitally. They actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts that builds knowledge, enlarges experience, and broadens worldviews. They reflexively demonstrate the cogent reasoning and use of evidence that is essential to both private deliberation and responsible citizenship in a democratic republic. In short, students who meet the Standards develop the skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation for any creative and purposeful expression in language.

Within Goshen, students in the upper grades will likely see the most dramatic shift in focus as the curriculum moves toward a greater emphasis on information literacy. Under the new standards, there will be an increased expectation for students to be able to provide text-based responses to questions.

Common Core Learning Standards for Mathematics

These standards define what students should understand and be able to do in their study of math. But what does mathematical understanding look like? One hallmark of mathematical understanding is the ability to justify, in a way appropriate to the student’s mathematical maturity, why a particular mathematical statement is true or where a mathematical rule comes from.

There is a world of difference between a student who can summon a mnemonic device to expand a product such as (a + b)(x + y) and a student who can explain where the mnemonic comes from. The student who can explain the rule understands the mathematics, and may have a better chance to succeed at a less familiar task such as expanding (a + b + c)(x + y). Mathematical understanding and procedural skill are equally important, and both are assessable using mathematical tasks of sufficient richness.

Within Goshen, students at the elementary level will likely see the most dramatic shift in focus as the curriculum moves from a spiraling approach to a mastery approach. Meaning, students will be expected to develop a deeper conceptual understanding of core content and build upon it from year to year. The district’s “Everyday Mathematics” program, as well as several other programs, will be evaluated in the coming months to ensure that they align with the new standards.