What are the Common Core State Standards?

The Common Core State Standards are fundamental descriptions of reading, writing, and math skills that focus on the ability to think independently. Here are two examples of these descriptions:

  • 3rd grade math: Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes. Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time intervals in minutes.

  • 5th grade reading: Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text

Louisiana's Transition to Higher Expectations

Parent Guides to the Common Core


Why did Louisiana adopt these standards?

Louisiana students are just as capable as any other group of students across our country or in the world, but they are lagging behind their peers. Louisiana students rank 44th and 46th amongst states in English language arts and math, respectively. Our state must level the playing field for our kids so they can compete in our ever changing global economy. The Common Core State Standards hold students across the country to the same high bar and allow Louisiana students to see how they perform compared to students across America. Instead of teaching students shortcuts and measuring their learning with bubble tests, these standards require independent thinking to solve problems- much like the demands of the American workforce.

Are these standards more rigorous than previous Louisiana standards?

Yes, these standards are more rigorous than those previously used in Louisiana. Before adopting these standards, Louisiana students were learning material that was sometimes even a full year behind several high-performing states. The table below illustrates one reading concept as it was represented in the old standards compared to how it is represented in the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standard asks students to engage in independent thinking skills such as comparing and contrasting and analyzing characters.


Grade 4 - English Language Arts

Louisiana Grade Level Expectations
Reading & Responding, Standard 1

5. Identify a variety of story elements, including:

• the impact of setting on character
• multiple conflicts
• first- and third-person points of view
• development of theme (ELA-1-E4)
Common Core State Standards
Literature: Key Ideas & Details

2. Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

3. Describe the depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).

Literature: Craft & Structure

6. Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.


What does math teaching look like when teachers use the Common Core State Standards?

The Common Core State Standards require students to find real and exact answers to problems. In addition to finding the exact answer, students are expected to be able to explain why that answer is correct. Often students learn shortcuts to math problems. They often are then not able to apply these same shortcuts to more complex, real world problems. The new standards develop the ability to think independently rather than relying on short cuts. Click here to see a video of what classroom teaching looks like using the Common Core State Standards for math.

What does English language arts instruction look like?

The Common Core State Standards require students to:

  1. Read increasingly difficult books and articles, including fiction and non-fiction
  2. Research, analyze and present ideas
  3. Develop arguments grounded in evidence and communicate them in writing

This means students don’t just memorize facts and answer multiple choice questions on bubble tests; instead, they are asked to read and write starting in elementary school all the way through high school. Click here to see a video of what classroom teaching looks like using the Common Core State Standards for English language arts.