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Common standards help ensure that students receive a rigorous, high-quality education that’s consistent from school to school and state to state. Common Core Standards are guidelines that we're using in Frederick County to help write our curriculum. The new standards don’t tell our teachers what or how to teach; they simply outline the skills that all students should master. FCPS teachers and curriculum writers are using those standards to help ensure that all our students continue to be ready for college and a career. Take a look at the FCPS Curriculum.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Common Core

So, this is the new national curriculum that I've been hearing about?

No, the Common Core is not a curriculum. The new standards do not tell our teachers what or how to teach; they simply outline the skills that all students should master. FCPS teachers have worked with our central office to write our own curriculum, using Common Core standards as a guide.

But it's still a federal program, right?

The Common Core effort was launched through a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association working together with parents, teachers, school administrators, and educators from across the country. The federal government was not involved in writing these standards.

How will this affect my child?

When standards are fully implemented next year, you’ll see that each grade covers fewer topics but teaches content in much greater depth. The order in which our students tackle some concepts in math will be different. Students will be reading and writing for information in their English/language arts class, in addition to reading and writing about literature. This focus on reading and writing for information will extend beyond their English classes.

What about those who receive special education services? Or who are still learning English?

FCPS still makes its own decisions on how to support special education students and English Language Learners with the new standards, and your student will still see the same robust effort to ensure a quality education.

What about science, social studies, and other subjects?

The standards only address language arts and mathematics. You will notice that the new reading and writing standards for language arts apply to science and social studies as well. A state-led process similar to the one used to develop Common Core is underway to write standards for science and social studies, and parents can expect to see similar reforms in those subjects.

Isn't the Common Core just for students who are bound for college?

The goal of the Common Core is to do more to make sure all students are college and career ready after high school graduation. FCPS has a strong history of preparing students who want to enter the workforce directly after high school, through the Career and Technology Center and our other career programs. In addition to career-specific training, the Common Core will ensure that students have the academic background to continue their education in their chosen field over their lifetime.

How will this affect the tests my child takes?

A new assessment is under development that’s aligned with the Common Core standards. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (often called PARCC) assessments are computer-based, nationally developed tests, and will replace the Maryland School Assessments in 2014-2015.

How will this affect my child's report card?

Secondary students will see no change. The elementary school report card is revised to include more information on the standards the student meets, the level of effort the student exhibits, and more informational comments. Additionally, a new grading system will be in place for PreK–2 that provides a better indication of the student's level than the earlier grading systems. FCPS staff and parents developed this grading system and report card over the 2012-13 school year.