NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

Bringing Education to You

Course Descriptions

Understanding Common Core State Standards

EDUC 600

In the spring of 2009, governors and state commissioners of education from across the United States formed the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI).  The goal of this initiative?  To develop a set of shared national standards ensuring that students in every state are held to the same level of expectations that students in the world’s highest-performing countries are, and that they gain the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for success in postsecondary education in in the global arena.  This course is an invitation to think about the possibilities that the Common Core standards offer for strengthening teaching and learning across the United States.  The projected outcome of this course is to provide educators with the knowledge, understanding, and methodologies to create pathways to the Common Core in order to accelerate student achievement.


Students will learn how to:

  1. Develop a common vocabulary and consistent understanding of key Common Core concepts.
  2. Investigate the goals and criteria of the standards and why they are a promising alternative to the old standards-based education model.
  3. Analyze the benefits and concerns of the common core standards.
  4. Describe what the standards look like, both the language/literacy as well as mathematics.
  5. Build shared knowledge of both critical vocabulary and the concepts underlying the ways in which the standards are organized, including strands, clusters, domains, etc.
  6. Interpret the standards for the classroom and creating meaningful instruction that leads to those standards.
  7. Determine a pathway for implementing common core in one’s current district by investigating what literacy initiatives are already underway.
  8. Create ways to track meaningful progress and assess how students are measuring up with the common cores.

Text / Readings / Sources

The required reading is found in the following texts:

Calkins, L., Ehrenworth, M., & Lehman, C. (2012).  Pathways to the common core: accelerating achievement.  Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Kendall, J. (2011).  Understanding common core state standards. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.