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[6 Classroom Tips] Common Core Assessments

Friday, July 25, 2014 -- Mandy Groen

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represent a significant shift in student expectations and assessments. Below are a few simple changes you can make in your classroom to help your students be successful.

  1. Align Instruction to the Common Core State Standards
    The Common Core State Standards do not explicitly define classroom curriculum. Instead, they establish a series of standards for skills and concepts that students must master by various points in their academic careers. Be familiar with these standards (you can view them on the CCSS Initiative webpage), and make sure that classroom activities are directed toward achieving them.
  2. Know (and Teach!) Technology-Enhanced Item Types
    In line with Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) guidelines, Common Core assessments will make use of new technology-enhanced item types. These item types go beyond traditional multiple-choice and true/false questions to more thoroughly check for students’ understanding of topics and promote critical thinking. Take a look at our 21st Century Item Types resource, and be sure your students are familiar with the new item types in order to be successful on test day.
  3. Make Use of Data
    You have a huge amount of student data at your fingertips which can be an invaluable resource for differentiating instruction and increasing learner achievement. Spend time with your classroom data to identify which students and topics require additional attention, and plan your lessons accordingly. Online educational tools, like Edmentum Sensei, can help you make the most of your data by providing actionable insights.
  4. Be Tech Savvy
    Common Core assessments will transition students away from pen-and-paper testing to interactive, web-based exams. This means that exposure to technology in the classroom will become more and more important. Investigate the numerous online (and often free!) teaching resources that are available, and utilize them regularly with your students.
  5. Embrace Formative Assessment
    With Common Core’s requirements for deeper demonstration of student understanding, it naturally follows that assessment practices will have to become more robust. Formative assessment allows teachers to differentiate instruction for individual students and monitor their progress. This blog post from Education Week provides a great in-depth look at how formative assessment is changing the classroom. 
  6. Consider Your Culture
    The goal of the Common Core is to increase the day-to-day rigor and challenge of classroom learning—which can also increase student stress (especially when you are stressed as well). To help your students be successful and happy, don’t underestimate the importance of simple classroom routines like seated stretching and promoting healthy breakfasts and snacks as well as the importance of providing a positive, fun, encouraging environment.

Want to learn more about how Edmentum can help you align your classroom to Common Core standards and prepare your learners for the new assessment? View our 10 Steps to a Successful Transition to the Common Core.