Understanding & Implementing Common Core Standards
Instructor Name: Dr. Pamela Bernards, Ed.D.
Facilitator Name: Professor Steven Dahl
Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday – Friday
Address: Virtual Education Software
16201 E Indiana Ave, Suite 1450
Spokane, WA 99216
Technical Support: email@example.com
Welcome to Understanding & Implementing Common Core Standards, an interactive computer-based instruction course designed to give you a deeper understanding of the rationale for and structure of this particular standards-based framework. In this course you will learn a number of factors that contributed to the overall design of the Common Core Standards as well as practical pedagogical approaches that will support practitioners working toward deeper implementation. We will reflect on the instructional “shifts” emphasized throughout the Common Core Standards and contextualize the shifts based on the diverse population of students course participants serve. Understanding & Implementing Common Core Standards will also provide connections to a variety of instructional considerations that will support implementation regardless of educational context. Practitioners will be provided opportunities to reflect on current practice and the degree to which they align with the Common Core Standards as well as with colleagues across a wide range of settings implementing these standards.
This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer. Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.
Course Materials (Online)
Title: Understanding & Implementing Common Core Standards
Instructor: Dr. Pamela Bernards, Ed.D.
Facilitator: Professor Steven Dahl
Publisher: Virtual Education Software, inc. 2014, Revised 2016
Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.
Aiding Honesty in Others
The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.
Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.
Level of Application
This course is designed for anyone working to implement the Common Core State Standards with a diverse learning population across the K-12 spectrum. While the information presented may have relevance to any student-centered educational setting, it will have the most relevance for K-12 mixed ability classrooms.
Expected Learning Outcomes
As a result of this course, participants will demonstrate their ability to:
This course, Understanding & Implementing Common Core Standards, has been divided into four chapters. The organization of the course covers the rationale for and design of the Common Core State Standards, the “Common Core Mindset” practitioners need for successful implementation, and what specific actions can be taken for deeper implementation across settings.
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Shifts Resulting From CCSS Implementation
Chapter 2: Developing a CCSS Mindset
Chapter 3: Common Core Mindset in Action
Chapter 4: Thinking Through the Core
In Chapter 2, we will move past the "what" of standards to identify the underlying principles teachers need to understand when implementing the CCSS. Teachers who take time to re-examine their operating principles are in the best position to know how well their approach aligns with what the authors of the CCSS had in mind when developing the standards. This is what is referred to in this course as developing the “CCSS Mindset.” Clarification will be made between “rigor” and “difficulty” and the implications will be discussed for teachers as they work to create equitable learning conditions. We will also articulate the difference between a “fixed” and a “growth” orientation and the implications of each view for students and teachers. A self-assessment tool will be used so course participants can determine the priority level to which course participants and their students believe that ability is expandable. A seven-step process for directly teaching students that ability is expandable is also provided.
In Chapter 3, the emphasis will be on designing accessible learning conditions in partnership with students. We do this in partnership with learners in ways that will accelerate their growth toward college, career, and citizenship. The various ways in which student and teacher self-efficacy are interconnected will be discussed. In light of these interconnections, a four-step process for articulating standards and increasing student ownership over learning outcomes will be outlined. Additionally, the purpose of and a process for providing effective prescriptive feedback will be provided. As it pertains to the implementation of the Common Core Standards, the significance of the emergence of educational neuroscience and corollary strategies will be outlined. The importance of explicitly teaching academic language and methods for increasing student ownership of learning across settings will also be outlined. Participants will be supported to think through how they will approach students who struggle when implementing the Common Core Standards and the role of differentiation.
In Chapter 4, we will further explore how implementation of the Common Core Standards is aimed at deepening student comprehension and higher order thinking skills. The difference between a teaching strategy and a learning strategy will be discussed in conjunction with a particular implementation strategy, compare and contrast. Specific web-based tools for designing engaging learning activities using primary source documents and for engaging students in higher order thinking skills will be provided. The importance of student use of reasoning and argument in writing across the CCSS is addressed. Course participants will be provided a tool for further reflection on their own implementation of the standards and support in planning for any changes identified through reflection.
Each chapter contains additional handouts that cover specific topics from the chapter in greater depth. They are provided for you to read, ponder, and apply to the setting in which you work. Some of the handouts are directly related to the concepts and content of the specific chapter, but also included are handouts indirectly related to provide extended learning connections.
As a student you will be expected to:
● Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.
● Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented. You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, and successfully complete ALL writing assignments to pass this course. *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.
● Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.
● Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.
● Complete all course journal article and essay writing assignments with the minimum word count shown for each writing assignment.
● Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.
At the end of each course section, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score. After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access. The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate. However, this is not your final grade since your required writing assignments have not been reviewed. Exceptionally written or poorly written required writing assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy in the course syllabus, will affect your grade. As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.
All assignments are reviewed and may impact your final grade. Exceptionally or poorly written assignments, or violation of the Academic Integrity Policy (see course syllabus for policy), will affect your grade. Fifty percent of your grade is determined by your writing assignments, and your overall exam score determines the other fifty percent. Refer to the Essay Grading Guidelines which were sent as an attachment with your original course link. You should also refer to the Course Syllabus Addendum which was sent as an attachment with your original course link, to determine if you have any writing assignments in addition to the Critical Thinking Questions (CTQ) and Journal Article Summations (JAS). If you do, the Essay Grading Guidelines will also apply.
Your writing assignments must meet the minimum word count and are not to include the question or your final citations as part of your word count. In other words, the question and citations are not to be used as a means to meet the minimum word count.
Critical Thinking Questions
There are four CTQs that you are required to complete. You will need to write a minimum of 500 words (maximum 1,000) per essay. You should explain how the information that you gained from the course will be applied and clearly convey a strong understanding of the course content as it relates to each CTQ. To view the questions, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the CTQ that you are ready to complete; this will bring up a screen where you may enter your essay. Prior to course submission, you may go back at any point to edit your essay, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits.
You must click SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.
Journal Article Summations
You are required to write, in your own words, a summary on a total of three peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles (one article per JAS), written by an author with a Ph.D., Ed.D. or similar, on the topic outlined within each JAS section in the “Required Essays” portion of the course (blogs, abstracts, news articles or similar are not acceptable). Your article choice must relate specifically to the discussion topic listed in each individual JAS. You will choose a total of three relevant articles (one article per JAS) and write a thorough summary of the information presented in each article (you must write a minimum of 200 words with a 400 word maximum per JAS). Be sure to provide the URL or the journal name, volume, date, and any other critical information to allow the facilitator to access and review each article.
To write your summary, click on REQUIRED ESSAYS and choose the JAS that you would like to complete. A writing program will automatically launch where you can write your summary. When you are ready to stop, click SAVE. Prior to course submission you may go back at any point to edit your summaries but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits. For more information on the features of this assignment, please consult the HELP menu.
You must click SAVE before you write another summary or move on to another part of the course.
Understanding & Implementing Common Core Standards has been developed with the widest possible audience in mind because the core principles and practices of implementation need to be applied across K-12 settings. The primary goal of the course is to provide the rationale for the Common Core Standards (the why) and what research-based pedagogical approaches will help practitioners implement these standards in their unique context. The course acknowledges that practitioners are at varying stages of implementing these standards, so opportunities for self-reflection, learning about cross-cutting implementation strategies, and action planning are based on each course participant’s current practice and context.
Steve Dahl, the instructor of record, has served as a district-level administrator overseeing a
variety of federal programs, such as Special Education, English Language Learning (ELL), and Title 1, for the past 10 years. He has a Master’s Degree in Special Education and has completed post-Master’s coursework to obtain a Washington State Administrator Credential which certifies him to oversee programs ranging from Preschool settings through 12th grade (as well as post-secondary vocational programs for 18-21 year old students). He has 22 years of combined experience in resource-room special education classrooms, inclusion support in a comprehensive high school, and provision of support to adults with disabilities in accessing a wide range of in-school and community learning opportunities. Please contact Professor Dahl if you have course content or examination questions.
Pamela Bernards has 30 years of combined experience in diverse PK–8 and high school settings as a teacher and an administrator. In addition to these responsibilities, she was the founding director of a K-8 after-school care program and founder of a pre-school program for infants to 4-year-olds. As a principal, her school was named a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 1992, as was the school at which she served as curriculum coordinator in 2010. She currently serves as a principal in a PK3–Grade 8 school. Areas of interest include curriculum, research-based teaching practices, staff development, assessment, data-driven instruction, and instructional intervention (remediation and gifted/talented). She received a doctorate in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University. Please contact Professor Dahl if you have course content or examination questions.
You may contact the facilitator by emailing Professor Dahl at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling him at 509-891-7219, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST. Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.
If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.
If you need personal assistance then email email@example.com or call (509) 891-7219. When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call.
Minimum Computer Requirements
Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.
Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.
Bibliography (Suggested Readings)
Achieve the Core developed by Student Achievement Partners
Free, ready-to-use classroom resources designed to help educators understand and implement the Common Core and other college and career ready standards
Coherence Map for Common Core State Standards in Mathematics
Deep Dive Into the Math Shifts
Instructional Practice Toolkit and Classroom Videos
The Instructional Practice Toolkit is designed for use by teachers and those who support teachers to build understanding and experience with instruction aligned to College and Career Readiness (CCR) standards in mathematics and ELA/literacy.
Lesson Planning Resources
Rather than focusing exclusively on literacy skills, the Common Core State Standards set expectations for the complexity of texts students need to be able to read to be ready for college and careers. This collection includes tools to help with each step and research to support teachers' understanding of text complexity. To plan a close-reading lesson with text complexity in mind, use the Lesson Planning Tool.
Progressions Documents for the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics
Deepen your knowledge of the Shifts and Standards; learn what to look for in aligned materials.
Understand How CCSS Aligned Assessment is Different
All of the mini-assessments presented are designed to highlight the math Shifts of Focus, Coherence, and Rigor. The resources below explain what each of the Shifts look like in CCSS-aligned assessment. Learn more about the math Shifts.
Understand the Common Core State Standards Shifts in Mathematics
Understand the Mathematics Tasks
Understanding the Shifts
American Federation of Teachers (2016). A Teacher’s Guide to the Common Core: A Resource Guide for Success in English Language Arts for Teachers Who Work with English Learners and Students with Disabilities
Bloom, B. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: Handbook 1. New York, NY: David McKay.
Brookhart, S. (2010). How to assess higher-order thinking skills in your classroom. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Brophy, J. (1998, May). Failure syndrome students. ERIC Digest. Retrieved from http://ecap.crc.illinois.edu
California’s Department of Education. (n.d.). Resilience—Strengthening protective factors and developmental assets. Retrieved from http://pubs.cde.ca.gov/tcsii/ch8/resilience.aspx
Common Core State Standards
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers Title: Common Core State Standards. Publisher: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington D.C. Copyright Date: 2010
Myths vs. Facts
Read the ELA Standards
The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (“the standards”) represent the next generation of K–12 standards designed to prepare all students for success in college, career, and life by the time they graduate from high school.
Read the Mathematics Standards
Read the Standards
Standards in Your State
What Parents Should Know
CCSSO General Resources
The Common Core State Standards:
Supporting Districts and Teachers with Text Complexity
Provides states with additional Common Core State Standards implementation support, the Council of Chief State School Officers hosted a one-hour webinar to share tools and resources to support teachers and districts on text complexity, which is the linchpin of the ELA standards. The webinar featured Sue Pimentel, a member of the Common Core State Standards English language arts writing committee, as well as representatives from the Kansas and Louisiana Departments of Education.
Common Core Webinar Series
Joint Webinar CCSSO and ASCD on EduCore
Mathematics Common Core Standards
and the Concept of Focus
CSSO hosted a webinar on the Common Core mathematics standards. The webinar included a presentation on the concept of focus in the Math standards, the work of the Math SCASS, and information on the Illustrative Mathematics Project.
Resources from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) on Navigating Text Complexity
Chart Your Course
Explore Text Roadmaps
Finding State Resources to Implement the Common Core
Infographics, Posters and Foldable
Learning the Ropes
Navigating Text Complexity
Website created by ELA State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards that includes resources for evaluating text complexity, model text roadmaps (comprehensive text complexity analyses), and model text sets (backbones for units of instruction). (Retrieved July 2017)
Trouble Shooting Text Complexity
Dweck, C. (2010). Even geniuses work hard. Educational Leadership, 68(1), 16-20. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
EduCore (ASCD, Free Resources to Implement the Common Core)
EngageNY (New York State Common Core State Standards)
Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Lapp, D. (2012). Text complexity: Raising rigor in reading. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Francis, E. (2016). Now that’s a good question! How to promote cognitive rigor through classroom questioning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Frizell, M., & Dunderdale, T. (2015). A Compendium of Research on the Common Core State Standards. Center for Education Policy.
This updated compendium includes over 85 research studies focused on the Common Core State Standards, and encompasses research from multiple sources, such as government entities, independent organizations, and peer-reviewed publications from academic journals and other outlets. Each study in the compendium has been summarized and categorized across nine topic areas. A URL link to the original research is also provided when possible. The compendium is presented below both as a single document as well as individual PDFs of the nine topic areas. The compendium will be updated regularly as the body of CCSS-related research grows. This latest version is updated as of February 10, 2015.
Goleman, D. (2005). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York, NY: Bantam.
Goleman, D. (2007). Social intelligence: The new science of human relationships. New York, NY: Bantam.
Hillocks, G. (2011). Teaching argument writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Hull, T. H., Miles, R. E. H., & Balkan, D. S. (2012). The Common Core mathematics practices: Transforming practices through team leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Jennings, J. (2012). Why have we fallen short and where do we go from here? Center for Educational Policy. Retrieved from http://www.cep-dc.org/displayDocument.cfm?DocumentID=392
Jensen, E. (2008). Brain-based learning: The new paradigm of teaching. San Francisco, CA: Corwin.
Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. (2009). Immunities to change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.
Marzano, R. (2003). What works in schools: Translating research into action. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Marzano, R. (2007). The art and science of teaching: A comprehensive framework for effective teaching. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Marzano, R., Pickering, D., & Heflebower, T. (2011). The highly engaged classroom. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.
Medina, J. (2008) Brain rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.
Moss, C., & Brookhart, S. (2012). Learning targets: Helping students aim for understanding in today’s lesson. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Oregon Department of Education. (n.d.). Apply the concepts. Retrieved from
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PAARC)
Robinson, K. (2011). Out of our minds: Learning to be creative. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.
Reeves, D. (2010). Transforming professional development into student results. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Reeves, D., Wiggs, M., Lassiter, C., Piercy, T., Ventura, S., & Bell, B. (2011). Navigating implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Lead and Learn Press.
Schlechty, P. (2011). Engaging students: The next level of working on the work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Schmoker, M. (2011). Focus: Elevating the essentials to radically improve student learning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Silver, H., Dewing, R., & Perini, M. (2012). The core six: Essential strategies for achieving excellence with the Common Core. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
Resources for Educators
Sousa, D. (2010). Mind, brain, and education: Neuroscience implications for the classroom. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Sousa, D. A., & Tomlinson, C. A. (2011). Differentiation and the brain: How neuroscience supports the learner-friendly classroom. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Stiggins, R., & Chappuis, J. (2008, January). Enhancing student learning. Retrieved from
Swinney, R., & Velasco, P. (2011). Connecting content and academic language for English learners and struggling students grades 2-6. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Tomlinson, C. & Imbeau, M. (2014). A differentiated approach to the Common Core: how do I help a broad range of learners succeed with challenging curriculum? Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). School connectedness. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/protective/connectedness.htm
U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. TIMSS 2007 results. National Center for Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS). Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/timss/results07.asp
University of Oregon’s Brain Development Lab. (2008). Changing brains: Effects of experience on human brain development [DVD]. Available from www.changingbrains.org
Webb, N. (2002) Depth of knowledge (DOK) levels in 4 content areas. Retrieved from
Wiliam, D. (2011). Embedded formative assessment. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Willis, J. (2006). Research-based strategies to ignite student learning: Insights from a neurologist and classroom teacher. Alexandria,VA: ASCD.
Wormelli, M. (2006). Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessing and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
Zwiers, J. and Crawford, M. (2011). Academic Conversations: classroom talk that fosters critical thinking and content understandings. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.