Kindergartners will be asked to read at a higher level than before. However, they will not be held back from moving on to first grade if they do not satisfy the standards.
Under Common Core, kindergartners are now being asked to learn more vocabulary words and read short sentences fluently.
Before, they had to understand only a limited number of sight words, like “and," “said” and “play.”
Teachers will also use more informational text instead of fun storybooks in reading circles and activities. So, instead of turning to “Frog and Toad,” the teacher might read a nature book about frogs.
Many educators say that if kindergartners do not satisfy Common Core reading standards by the end of the year, they could quickly fall behind in first, second and third grade because Common Core content demands stronger literacy and comprehension skills from students.
Myth 2: Kindergartners will now be required to take a Common Core-aligned test
Kindergartners are exempt from taking tests under the Smarter Balanced Assessment System. Testing begins after students enter third grade. However, teachers do evaluate their kindergarten students based on a number of academic-readiness factors before they move on to first grade.
Myth 3: Common Core standards were implemented in California without a standardized curriculum to teach it
California’s state Board of Education did adopt Common Core “frameworks” for English and math, which serve as general academic road maps that all educators are expected to follow.
However, it is true that Common Core-aligned curricula in the form of lesson plans and textbooks were adopted after the standards were rolled out in many public schools.
The upside: Teachers now have wide latitude to interpret the standards in their classrooms, and have more freedom to develop their own lesson plans. Many educators like this change because they have felt stifled by what they called “overly prescribed” state curricula under the previous standards, leading to a "kill and drill" approach in public education.
The downside: Some parents feel far too many teachers are “piecing” together their lesson plans, which are not as thought out, methodical or effective. They believe this will have a huge impact on how their kids will progress academically in school.
Myth 4: Recent Common Core test results show students can’t reach these new standards
The state’s new Common Core-aligned test made its official debut last year, with students from third through eighth grade, as well as 11th grade, taking the test.
The results were dismal, but state education officials countered by saying this was the first time students were being tested on Common Core content and that scores are expected to greatly improve over the next few years.
The computer-adaptive tests now offer teachers a much more detailed picture of the academic strengths and weaknesses of each student, and those data are expected to help educators recalibrate the effectiveness of their lesson plans.
Indeed, many teachers are still grappling with this new way of teaching and learning. Next year’s test scores will offer the public a better understanding of whether districts are doing a good job.