The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are an effort by states to define a common core of knowledge and skills that students should develop in K-12 education, regardless of the state they live in, so they will graduate high school prepared for college or careers.
The standards were released in 2010 and are divided into two categories: K-12 standards, which address expectations for elementary through high school and college and career readiness standards, which address what students are expected to know when they graduate from high school.
Why do we need common standards? In the past, states have individually decided what knowledge and skills are necessary for students by the time they graduate from high school. Having common standards across the United States will help ensure that students are receiving a high-quality education consistently, from school to school and state to state. For military families, common standards can be a way to increase consistency of schooling as they relocate to new duty stations.
States are leading the CCSS initiative, which is being coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The federal government has not been involved in initiating or developing the Common Core State Standards.
What do the standards say about students with disabilities? If the CCSS applies to all students in school, the standards also apply to students with disabilities. The standards allegedly recognize that implementation requires providing students with disabilities a range of needed supports. In the document Application to Students with Disabilities, the standards indicate that instruction for students with disabilities must incorporate supports and accommodations, including the following: supports and related services designed to meet students’ unique needs and enable their access to the general education curriculum; an IEP that includes annual goals aligned with and chosen to facilitate their attainment of grade-level academic standards; and teachers and specialized instructional support staff who are prepared and qualified to deliver high-quality, evidence-based, individualized instruction and support services.
Additional supports would be provided as needed, including: instructional strategies based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL); and assistive technology devices and services that enable access to the standards.
The Application to Students with Disabilities is available online at: