Roseville’s high school district prepping for Common Core transition

Standards designed to get students ready for college, career
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
-A +A

Common Core 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
  • Are evidence-based

Depth of knowledge measures four levels:

  1. Recall
  2. Skill/concept
  3. Strategic thinking
  4. Extended thinking


The next big chapter in American learning is coming.

It won’t involve teaching students a series of factoids, or giving them multiple choice tests or demanding rote memorization. Instead, the focus will be on “depth of knowledge,” a concept coined by research scientist Norman Webb in 1997.

This chapter in American learning is known as Common Core State Standards and is being embraced by public school districts across the United States. As defined in its mission statement, “The (standards) provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.”

The standards, for grades K-12, are designed to be relevant to the real world and prepare students to compete in the global economy. While the first set of students in California won’t be tested on Common Core for another few years, the transition has already begun in the Roseville Joint Union High School District.

“The testing for 2015 requires us to start immediately,” said Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction John Montgomery on Nov. 13 as he presented on the subject to the school board.

Common Core Standards developed out of a voluntary state-led effort coordinated by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.

The push for a uniform set of standards was based on the recognition that American students need a way to better master information and critical thinking skills to compete on a worldwide level, Montgomery said. It’s no longer enough for students to amass a collection of facts.

“We don’t just want them to remember and recall that information,” Montgomery said. “We want to take that level of knowledge to a deeper level.”

California’s standardized exams test “very low-level learning,” Montgomery said. With Common Core, few questions asked of students will require a single answer, he said.

Since 2010, 45 states have adopted Common Core State Standards for English and math, with the exception of Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, Alaska and Virginia.

Fully implementing instructional practices, curriculum, resources and materials, and assessments will take a few years.

“I’m absolutely confident we’re headed in the right direction with Common Core … What this will accomplish in terms of preparing our students — there’s nothing like it,” said board member Linda Park during the Nov. 13 meeting.