Learn about CA Common Core State Standards


The days when a high school diploma and a factory job were the ticket to the American dream are long gone, as any recent graduate can attest.

To be successful in an ever-shrinking, increasingly competitive global economy, our high school graduates will need to move on to higher education or career training: Community college, a four-year university, vocational school or an apprenticeship.

SCUSD is preparing students to choose the path that is right for them by implementing the California Common Core State Standards, new educational goals that promote critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and communication.

Find out about Common Core — you’ll be impressed.

What are the educational standards?

Educational standards are goals for student learning. Standards define the knowledge, concepts, and skills students should acquire at each grade level. Standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful.

Why are the CA Common Core State Standards important?

The CA Common Core State 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 are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our 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.

Prior to the Common Core, each state determined its own educational standards for each grade. Now, fifth-graders in California will be expected to master the same basic language and math skills and content as fifth-graders in Florida. Forty-five states and three territories have adopted the Common State Core Standards.

What is special about the CA Common Core State Standards?

The CA Common Core State Standards were designed by a diverse group of teachers, experts, parents, and school administrators, so they reflect both our aspirations for our children and the realities of the classroom. These standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to go to college or enter the workforce and that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. The standards are benchmarked to international standards to guarantee that our students are competitive in the emerging global marketplace.

What are some key differences between the current California Content Standards and the Common Core Standards?

English Language Arts:

  • CA Common Core State Standards expose students to more complex text, meaning what they read will have a higher level of difficulty. This is important for college readiness, as the ability to answer questions about complex text is a key predictor of college success.
  • CA Common Core State Standards place a much greater emphasis on informational text – as do colleges and workplaces. Currently, in many elementary programs, only 15 percent of text is considered expository. The Common Core sets expectation that, in grades three through eight, 50 percent of the text be expository.


  • The CA Common Core State Standards for math were designed to focus instruction on fewer topics each year, allowing more time to be spent on each topic to foster deeper understanding of key concepts and skills.
  • CA Common Core State Standards ask students to engage in more complex, higher-order thinking. They require students to gain in-depth mastery of content, to demonstrate mastery by solving non-routine and multi-step problems, and to fully explain and justify their solutions.