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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Proposed Massachusetts Additions to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
October 8, 2010

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Background

On July 21, 2010, the Board voted to adopt the 2010 Common Core State Standards to replace the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks in English Language Arts and Mathematics, contingent upon augmenting and customizing the Common Core within the 15 percent allowance. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide the Board with information regarding the augmentation and customizing that are recommended for the Common Core State Standards. I am seeking your approval to release these documents for public comment.

Process for Identifying Augmentations

On September 15 and 16, 2010, ESE staff reconvened the English Language Arts and Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks Review Panels to gather their recommendations for possible augmentation and customization of the standards. In addition, input from the Common Core review panels, early childhood educators and experts, and financial literacy specialists was solicited to determine what additions, if any, they would recommend to the Common Core State Standards. Based on the work of these committees, I am recommending the additions that are detailed in the two attached documents: the Proposed Massachusetts Additions to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects, and the Proposed Massachusetts Additions to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

Summary of Augmentations

Pre-Kindergarten Standards Identified in the English Language Arts and Mathematics Documents

The educator panels that reviewed the K-12 Common Core State Standards unanimously supported the addition of pre-Kindergarten (pre-K) standards, which have been an element of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks since the first editions were published in 1995. Because the Common Core contains no pre-K standards, these standards are not counted as part of Massachusetts 15 percent of additional standards.

An advisory panel composed of ESE staff with kindergarten expertise; staff of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), early childhood educators from public and non-public preschools (including Head Start), universities, and organizations such as Strategies for Children was convened to draft the pre-K standards. These draft standards are based on the EEC's Preschool Learning Experiences (2003), the ESE's Kindergarten Learning Experiences (2008), existing Massachusetts English Language Arts and Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks and working drafts, and the Common Core Kindergarten standards. The pre-K standards are intended for children who are in the final year of a pre-K program, generally older four to younger five-year olds.

The panel recommended the addition of 52 pre-K standards in English language arts. These standards focus on responding to literature and informational text read aloud, pre-reading and writing skills, speaking and listening, and language development. They are designed to build the foundation for the 67 kindergarten standards in the Common Core English language arts document. In mathematics, the panel recommended the addition of 13 pre-K standards in the areas of counting and cardinality, operations and algebraic thinking, measurement and data, and geometry. These will serve as the foundation for the 24 kindergarten mathematics standards in the Common Core. (See "Next Steps" on page 3 for information on the role of the Board of Early Education and Care in the review and approval of pre-K standards.)

Additional Standards and Features in English Language Arts (ELA)

The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts Expert Panel and the English Language Arts Curriculum Framework Review Panel recommended strengthening the content on knowledge of literary concepts and genres, as well the addition of the standards for language development in the early grades that were present in the 2010 working draft but not in the Common Core. We propose augmenting the Common Core's 1,022 ELA standards with an additional 27 standards:

  • two anchor standards,
  • two standards each in grades K and 1,
  • three standards each in grades 2, 3, and 4, and
  • two standards each in grades 5, 6, 7, 8, 9-10 and 11-12.

If accepted, these Massachusetts additions will comprise 2.5% of the total 1,049 ELA standards in the final document. (Please note that this total includes all of the grade level K-12 standards, the grades 6-12 standards for literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects, as well as the K-12 college and career readiness anchor standards.)

Members of the committee recommended the inclusion and creation of several additional features. These include Guiding Principles, similar to those in our existing framework, a recommended list of authors, and a Glossary of Terms. These items are detailed in the ELA document attached to this memorandum.

Additional Standards and Features in Mathematics

The educator panel that reviewed the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and the Mathematics Curriculum Framework Review Panel recommended a small percentage of additional standards. These standards add the greater specificity and content that were contained in the Massachusetts mathematics standards but not included in the Common Core.

We propose augmenting the Common Core's 514 mathematics standards (this total includes the eight Standards for Mathematical Practice) with an additional 19 standards as follows:

  • no standards will be added in K, grade 3, and grade 8,
  • one addition in grades 4, 5, and 7,
  • two additions in grades 1 and 2,
  • three additions in grade 6, and
  • nine additions in high school 9-12.

If accepted, these Massachusetts additions will comprise less than 4% of the total 533 mathematics standards in the final document.

In August, Achieve, Inc. (in partnership with the Common Core writing team) published six model courses and two pathways for organizing these courses. The courses and pathways were designed by state mathematics experts, high school teachers, mathematics faculty from two- and four-year institutions, mathematics teacher educators, and workforce representatives. The attachment titled Public Comment Draft of High School Mathematics Model Courses includes a list of standards for these six courses plus two advanced courses developed by Massachusetts educators. The standards in these courses are ones approved by the Board at its July 2010 meeting plus the nine additions recommended by our committee.

At September meeting, members of the Mathematics Committee recommended the inclusion and creation of several additional features. These include Guiding Principles and a Glossary of Terms, similar to those in our existing framework. These items are detailed in the mathematics document attached to this memorandum.

Next Steps
With your approval, I will solicit public comment on the proposed Massachusetts additions to the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics for the period October 25, 2010 through December 1, 2010. Once public comment has been received and reviewed, the proposed additions will be revised as necessary and brought to the Board for further discussion and vote for adoption at your meeting in December.

It should be noted that when this Board last adopted pre-K standards, the Department of Early Education and Care and its Board (BEEC) were not yet established. The statute that created the BEEC provided it with the authority to develop a consistent set of learning standards for all preschool programs. Accordingly, the BEEC will review and vote to solicit public comment on the proposed pre-K standards at its meeting in October and vote to adopt the pre-K standards at its meeting in December. We have been working in strong partnership with Commissioner Killins and her staff to ensure that the pre-K and K-12 standards are closely aligned.

Attachments:
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Proposed Additions to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Proposed Additions to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Public Comment Draft of High School Mathematics Model Courses
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Achieve Mathematics Pathways Work Team


Last Updated: October 13, 2010
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