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Common Core Standards

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Silver Oak 2014 Student Testing Dates

 

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Silver Oak 2014

Smarter Balanced

Field Test* Dates

 

Grade 5 - Week of April 14

Grades 4 & 6 - Week of Apr. 28

Grade 3 - Week of May 5

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Silver Oak 2014

Science STAR Testing

 

5th Grade Only

May 12 - 16

 

*The Smarter Balanced Field Test is also called the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress or CAASPP.

Student Testing

Silver Oak, along with thousands of schools across California, are participating in a field test of a modern assessment system designed to help shape teaching and learning in the classroom. The test is referred to two ways: Smarter Balanced Field Tests or the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress – or CAASPP. These computer-based tests replace the STAR program for Math and Language Arts.

 

These tests are aligned to the Common Core State Standards for English and math, which California adopted in 2010 to describe what knowledge and skills students need to be well prepared for college and careers, no matter where they come from or where they live.

 

Part of the goal of the field test this year is to determine how well individual questions allow students to demonstrate what they know and still need to learn. We are also taking this opportunity to see how well our technical capabilities meet the demands of computer-based assessments and to see what resources our teachers and school may yet need.

 

Finally and importantly, this year also gives your student an opportunity to try out the new system without consequences.  This year gives your child an opportunity to try out the new system without consequences. Scores will not be reported this year:  not to students, not to Silver Oak, and not to the Evergreen District. However, the test designers will use this year’s responses to improve test questions, and Silver Oak will use what we learn from the testing experience to help ensure a successful full launch of the system in the 2014-15 school year.

 

If you would like more information, please visit the California Department of Education Smarter Balanced Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sa/smarterfieldtest.asp.

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Common Core Standards

In 2013-14 California adopted Common Core Standards into its teaching and testing. To date, 45 states are using the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and teachers are currently using these standards in their classrooms. The standards create academic expectations in Math and English Language Arts throughout the country. They are designed to encourage the highest achievement of K-12 students by defining the knowledge, concepts, and skills students should acquire in each grade level.

 

Many families have questions about the CCSS and what that means to Silver Oak students. In an effort to better explain what the CCSS are and are not, below is a list of questions and answers to frequently asked questions.

 

If you find that some of your questions remain unanswered, please contact your teacher or visit SCOE's California Content Standards page or the California Department of Education (CDE) Common Core page for more information.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Common Core State Standards?

California is upgrading our education system. The Common Core State Standards are designed to prepare children for the future by teaching them the real-world skills needed for career and college. Students will learn more and in a more coherent way. One major benefit of the Common Core is to have each state's goals for English and math be similar enough, grade by grade, so that if families move from one state to another their children will have access to the same lessons.

 

We frequently hear that our students don't measure up internationally. These new standards are also internationally benchmarked. When developing the new Common Core State Standards, planners benchmarked the new standards to those in countries like Singapore, Finland and China, where students are highly successful.

 

Why are we making these changes?

California's original standards, though very rigorous, were 15 years old and did not focus enough on preparing students to be college- and career-ready when they left high school. Employers were telling the education community that our old standards did not focus enough on 21st century job skills, including critical thinking and creativity. These new standards set forth a clear roadmap for when and how students will learn vital skills as they progress from kindergarten through 12th grade.

 

What will be different now for students and teachers?

Teachers can look forward and backwards from their grade-level curriculum to see what students should have already learned in a subject area in prior years and what they need to know in their next grade level, enabling the teacher to build a plan for the current year.

 

How do the old and new standards differ?

The Common Core provides more focus and rigor in the early grades compared to prior state standards. The K-5 math standards provide students with a solid foundation in whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and decimals. This will help young students build a firm base so that when students get to the middle grades they have a deeper understanding of the subject and their skills are much more firmly entrenched.

 

In the area of English-language arts, students will devote more time to reading informational text. This will better equip them to comprehend complex manuals and college textbooks when they leave high school. In addition to writing creative essays about their most memorable event or the person who inspires them the most, they'll also be learning to write persuasively, by finding evidence and using that evidence to build and support a cohesive argument.

 

When did Silver Oak begin using the Common Core?

Silver Oak and all schools in the state of California began implementing Common Core Standards during the 2013-14 school year. Currently 45 states are using and teaching the Common Core.

 

Is the Common Core a "national" or "federal" standard?

The Common Core State Standards were developed collaboratively by the states through the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association. They brought in national and international experts to develop a new set of standards. The development started in 2009 and was completed in May 2010.

 

Are teachers being trained on the new standards?

During the summer of 2013 principals in Evergreen School District received four days of training from WestEd. WestEd is a research, development, and service agency that works with education and other communities to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults. On September 26, 2013, Silver Oak teachers were exposed to the new common core standards at a training held by Evergreen School District. Silver Oak teachers have begun working with the major instructional common core shifts in English/Language Arts and Math. The focus this year is on finding evidence in expository writing and informational text, using higher-level questioning strategies and embedding more depth of understanding in their math lessons. In addition, Silver Oak has an instructional coach, Mr. Kevin Olson, to assist teachers with questions and implementation.

 

What is the role of Instructional Coaches in Evergreen School District? 

Evergreen School District is using instructional coaches to assist teachers with implementing Common Core Standards into their teaching plans. At Silver Oak, we are pleased to have former 6th grade teacher, Kevin Olson, as our instructional coach.  Mr. Olson spends 50 percent of his time researching, coaching and supporting Silver Oak teachers as they implement with Common Core. The other 50% of Mr. Olson's time is spent at Norwood Elementary supporting their teachers with Common Core.

 

How does state testing fit in with the Common Core?

In spring 2014 Silver Oak students in grades 3-6 will participate in Smarter Balanced Field Tests* in Language Arts and Math.  In the past, our state exams have been largely multiple choice tests but on these new assessments students will be analyzing situations and writing short responses. This aligns more closely with Common Core education methodology. For example, in 4th grade mathematics, students might be asked to consider a scenario where they are out shopping, estimate the value of their purchase, compare it to someone else's estimate, discuss the differences, and determine if they made mistakes. District Benchmark Assessments will continue to be given in Language Arts, Writing and Math. 

 

How Will I Find Out How My Child Did on the Smarter Balanced Field Test*?

Scores will not be reported this year: not to students, not to Silver Oak, and not to the Evergreen District. This year gives your child an opportunity to try out the new system without consequences. Test designers will use this year’s responses to improve test questions, and Silver Oak will use what we learn from the testing experience to help ensure a successful full launch of the system in the 2014-15 school year.

 

Why Is My Child Taking the Smarter Balance Field Test* this year?

This year gives your child an opportunity to try out the new system without consequences. Test designers will use this year’s responses to improve test questions, and Silver Oak will use what we learn from the testing experience to help ensure a successful full launch of the system in the 2014-15 school year.

 

What or who is the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium?

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) is a state-led consortium that is developing next-generation assessments to accurately measure student progress and readiness for college and future careers. They are the organization that is creating the assessment tests that Silver Oak students in grades 3 - 6 will take in the spring.  Go to Smarter Balanced to learn more and view sample test questions for your child's grade level.
 

Are schools equipped with enough computers for the testing?

Smarter Balanced Field Tests* will be taken on computers. Schools and school Districts are working to make sure they have the proper equipment and that their internet connections are robust enough to process the testing content.

 

What should families do to learn more about the Common Core State Standards and New Assessments?

Families need to get involved and ask questions. Parents and guardians extend the learning at home and it is important that they know all about the new standards and assessments. Families are crucial partners in laying the groundwork for a smooth transition. They should talk to their teachers and principals and attend school board and community meetings to discuss district goals and timelines. If parents and guardians understand what their students are doing, the opportunity for student success increases.

 

*The Smarter Balanced Field Test is also called the "California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress" or CAASPP.

Testing Resources

2014 Practice Tests

3rd - 6th Grade Smarter Balanced Field Test* practice test link

To login to the Smarter Balanced Field Test* math and language arts practice tests, select the Sign In button then navigate through the login screens.

 


For addition information on Smarter Balanced Testing click:

Resources, Documentation and Rules for Smarter Balanced Field Test*

 


5th Grade Science STAR practice test link

(Questions start on page 11)

 

*The Smarter Balanced Field Test is also called the "California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress" or CAASPP.

Common Core Resouces

Here’s an easy link for parents looking for non-fiction book titles by grade level from Scholastic.

 

http://commoncore.scholastic.com/teachers/books/non-fiction

Common Core Materials

The links below take you to "grade by grade" guides that provide an overview of what your child will learn each year in math and English language arts.

Kindergarten

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

6th Grade


The Parent Handbook, from Sacramento County Office of Education, gives parents an introduction to California’s Common Core Standards and a summary of what students are expected to learn as they advance from kindergarten through grade 8.

Parent Handbook


English/Language Arts:

Cheat Sheet