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Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

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The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.

The NGA Center and CCSSO received initial feedback on the draft standards from national organizations representing, but not limited to, teachers, postsecondary educators (including community colleges), civil rights groups, English language learners, and students with disabilities. Following the initial round of feedback, the draft standards were opened for public comment, receiving nearly 10,000 responses.

The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.

These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The standards:

  • Are aligned with college and work expectations;
  • Are clear, understandable and consistent;
  • Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
  • Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
  • Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
  • Are evidence-based.

On June 16, 2010, the New Jersey State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts.  Forty-six states and DC have now adopted the Common Core State Standards which will allow these states to work together to support schools and districts in implementing the standards.  

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Rubric for determining lesson and unit alignment to the CCSS

The Quality Rubric was developed by the Tri-State Collaborative (Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island) to determine the quality of lessons and units aligned to the Common Core State Standards for ELA and for Mathematics. The rubrics look at alignment to the rigor of the CCSS; key areas of focus in the CCSS; instructional supports, and assessment. There is a rating scale for each of these four dimensions and lesson plans and units are evaluated as exemplar; exemplar if improved; needs revisions; not recommended, and not ready to review. To view or use the rubric, please visit

Rubrics for evaluating Open Ended Resources for alignment to CCSS

To help states, districts, teachers, and other users determine the degree of alignment of OERs to the Common Core State Standards, and to determine aspects of quality of OERs, Achieve has developed eight rubrics in collaboration with leaders from the OER community (download link for rubrics below). To allow users to apply these rubrics and evaluate the quality of instructional resources, Achieve partnered with OER Commons to develop an online evaluation tool. OER Commons, an online repository for open education resources, is now hosting the tool and its resulting evaluation data. Every resource available on OER Commons contains an "Evaluate Resource" button that will direct users to the evaluation tool. The coding for the tool is freely available online here. Resources rated on OER Commons will create a pool of metadata, and this metadata will be shared through the Learning Registry with other interested repositories…

The Rubrics

Click on the rubric titles to view videos that explain how to apply the rubrics and use the OER Evaluation tool.

Rubric I. Degree of Alignment to Standards
Rubric II. Quality of Explanation of the Subject Matter
Rubric III. Utility of Materials Designed to Support Teaching
Rubric IV. Quality of Assessment
Rubric V. Quality of Technological Interactivity
Rubric VI. Quality of Instructional Tasks and Practice Exercises
Rubric VII. Opportunities for Deeper Learning
Rubric VIII. Assurance of Accessibility