Monday, December 17, 2012

Common Core State Standards Algebra

One issue of concern for the California K-12 educators is that California currently requires students to pass Algebra 1 in order to earn a high school diploma. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) version of Algebra 1 includes topics not traditionally associated with Algebra 1, for instance, exponential functions and some statistics.

Unless new legislation addresses this change in content, the adoption of the CCSS automatically raises the California high school graduation requirement.

A related issue more directly linked to California Community Colleges (CCCs) is that the CCSS has created a higher level Algebra 2. If community college intermediate algebra is to align with high school Algebra 2, then we will be raising our math requirement for the AA degree and for the prerequisite for transfer level math.

And the California Community College Student Success Task Force calls for better alignment:
"Aligning K-12 and community colleges standards for college and career readiness is a long-term goal that will require a significant investment of time and energy that the Task Force believes will pay off by streamlining student transition to college and reducing the academic deficiencies of entering students...

"Recommendation 1.1
"Community Colleges will collaborate with K-12 education to jointly develop new common standards for college and career readiness that are aligned with high school exit standards.

"The Task Force recommends that the community college system closely collaborate with the SBE and Superintendent of Public Instruction to define standards for college and career readiness as California implements the K-12 Common Core State Standards and engages with the national SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium to determine the appropriate means for measuring these standards. Doing so would reduce the number of students needing remediation, help ensure that students who graduate from high school meeting 12th grade-level standards are ready for college-level work, and encourage more students to achieve those standards by clearly defining college and career expectations."
I don't know who speaks for CCCs in the collaboration with the State Board of Education and Superintendent of Public Instruction.  But I do think it likely that one strategy to bring better alignment will be to use the Smarter Balanced assessments at grade 11 as placement instruments at the community colleges.  The other consortium creating CCSS assessments, PARCC, already has agreement among its adopting states to use its assessments for college placement.  (See, for example,

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