Shedding Light on Common Core Appendix A

Even a year or two into Common Core implementation, confusion remains over what the standards require and how they ought to impact curriculum design. I know on my end, I frequently receive questions around what type of activity qualifies as “Common Core compliant. 

One of the biggest sources of confusion when it comes to compliance has been the appendices that accompany the standards. Leaders are still asking the question: if we adopt the standards, do we adopt the appendices as well? To answer this, I’ve hunted down a blog post by Bill McCallum (one of the writers of the Common Core) that once and for all clarifies this point.

-CameronCommon Core Appendix A

The Confusion Over Appendix A

by Bill McCallum

A number of people have gotten in touch with me recently about Appendix A, so I wanted to clarify something about its role. States who adopted the standards did not thereby adopt Appendix A. The high school standards were intentionally not arranged into courses in order to allow flexibility in designing high school courses, and many states and curriculum writers have taken advantage of that flexibility.

There was a thread about this on my blog 3 years ago, and there is a forum on the topic here.

Appendix A was provided as a proof of concept, showing one possible way of arranging the high school standards into courses. Indeed, on page 2 of the appendix it says:

The pathways and courses are models, not mandates. They illustrate possible approaches to organizing the content of the CCSS into coherent and rigorous courses that lead to college and career readiness. States and districts are not expected to adopt these courses as is; rather, they are encouraged to use these pathways and courses as a starting point for developing their own.

States will of course be constrained by their assessments. But Smarter Balanced consortium does not have end of course assessments in high school, leaving states and districts free to arrange high school as they choose. And although PARCC does have end of course assessments, they do not follow Appendix A exactly. See the footnote on page 39 of the PARCC Model Content Framework , which says

Note that the courses outlined in the Model Content Frameworks were informed by, but are not identical to, previous drafts of this document and Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards.

Furthermore, there are plenty of states not using either the PARCC of SMARTER Balanced assessments.

I hope this helps clear things up.

Click here to see the original post and to read more from Dr. McCallum on the Common Core Standards.




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