A Guide to U.S. Common Core: What Parents Need To Know

If you are a well-educated parent who spent a lot of time and effort to find the best curriculum for your child, there should be many times you come across the term “Common Core Standards.”  Many schools and learning centers in Vietnam nowadays claim that their curriculum is designed tied to the Common Core Standards. But what are precisely Common Core Standards?

The Common Core State Standards establish clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade.

This article is your all-in-one guide to the Common Core State Standards.  We hope parents can clearly understand these standards, how they benefit your child, and figure out where your child is compared to other international friends.

What Exactly Are U.S. Common Core Standards?

The Common Core is a set of academic standards for every student is expected to learn in each grade level, from kindergarten through high school. They cover Math and English Language Arts (ELA).   For example, a Common Core math standard for first grade is that students should be able to add and subtract within 20 by the end of the school year. Or when it comes to literacy expectations: By the end of 2nd grade, students should be able to explain how images in an informational text contribute to its meaning. By the end of 6th grade, they should be able to build a coherent analysis of a text, citing evidence to back up their arguments.

Building on the best of existing state standards, the Common Core State Standards provide clear and consistent learning goals to help prepare students for college, career, and life. The standards clearly demonstrate what students are expected to learn at each grade level so that every parent and teacher can understand and support their learning.

The standards are:

  1. Research and evidence-based
  2. Clear, understandable, and consistent
  3. Aligned with college and career expectations
  4. Based on rigorous content and the application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills
  5. Built upon the strengths and lessons of current state standards
  6. Informed by other top-performing countries to prepare all students for success in our global economy and society

According to the best available evidence, the mastery of each standard is essential for success in college, career, and life in today’s global economy.

“With students, parents, and teachers all on the same page and working together toward shared goals, we can ensure that students make progress each year and graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college, career, and life.”

The 3-minute interview below also covers the basic understanding of Common Core Standards:

A good place to start is reading the standards themselves.  These standards are publicly available to read.  Parents can learn the details of Math Standards and English Language Arts Standards.

Benefits of the Standards

(c) http://www.corestandards.org/

In addition to providing a clear set of expectations for student learning, Common Core brings the United States in line with other industrialized nations, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia, that teach their children based on a single set of nationwide standards.  This commonality also means that educational companies that used to prepare materials for over fifty different sets of standards can now focus on providing high-quality materials and programs based on the Common Core.

Furthermore, the Common Core addresses the difficulty encountered by students who moved or transferred to a new school: A child coming into a new country may or may not have been prepared for that country’s curriculum.  Their skillset might have been far more advanced or woefully inadequate.  With Common Core, which provides subject matter sequencing from grade to grade, students that switch schools should have an easier time making that transition.  State assessments will also be more comparable than in the past.  Although control of assessment development remains in the hands of the states, having a common basis of knowledge and skills for student learning will bring state tests much closer together in terms of expectations and rigor.  This increased rigor that the authors of the Common Core hope will allow U.S. students to compete more effectively against students from other nations.

What are the benefits for parents of common standards?

5 steps to transition your child from public school to homeschool?A common set of standards ensures that all students will be focused on graduating from high school prepared for postsecondary education and careers no matter where they live. In an increasingly mobile society, families with children transferring to new schools will not have to adjust to new learning expectations. Standards will be the same for all students in states adopting the Common Core Standards, making transitions smoother for students.

Common standards will facilitate conversation among parents, teachers, and children about high-level academic learning goals. Because common standards define what students should know and be able to do at each grade level, they will help parents hold their schools accountable for teaching students in ways that support learning of the important content and skills defined by the Common Core Standards.

With the adoption of the Common Core Standards, we can share experiences, assessment methods, teaching practices, instructional materials, and approaches to helping parents support and reinforce learning at home.

What Can Parents Do To Help Your Child Keep Up With The Standards?

Lớp học là nơi xây dựng cốt cách cho học sinhFor the implementation of the Common Core to be truly successful, parents and families must know about the Common Core Standards. They must also have the capacity to help students learn according to the standards.  The Common Core requires several shifts in the teaching and learning of English Language Arts (for example, an increased emphasis on non-fiction reading and discussion of reading using evidence) and mathematics (for example, a focus on going deeper into fewer topics and applying learning to real-world situations).  So to best support their child’s education, parents need to be aware of what is being asked of their students and learn strategies to work with them at home.

There are a number of resources available to help increase general awareness and build capacity to support learning under the Common Core among parents, including:

  • Parents’ Guide to Student Success detailed grade-by-grade information from the National PTA to help parents understand the importance of academic standards; what students should be able to know and do at the end of each grade K-8 (plus separate overviews for high school math and high school English based on the Common Core Standards; and how they can support their child’s learning at home
  • Common Core State Standards Assessment and Accountability Guides, another National PTA resource, developed for every state that has adopted the Common Core State Standards and including state-specific information about their assessment consortium, the testing timeline, sample test questions, impacts on students, new accountability systems and ways for parents to get involved and support their child’s learning at home
  • Spotlight on the Common Core State Standards: What Do Parents Need to Know?, part of Northwest Education’s series of documents to keep stakeholders informed about the Common Core, featuring basic information about the standards as well as samples of how students might learn under them

Again, the success of the Common Core depends in large part on parent and family understanding and support of it. Educators must address their concerns and provide the opportunity to help them help their children succeed, which is, after all, the ultimate goal of the standards.  If you want to know more about Common Core Standards and how well your child is doing on these scales, feel free to reach out to our teachers and experts at Everest Education.

Designed based on the U.S. Common Core Standards, our Singapore Math and English Language Arts programs help children grasp the fundamentals of math and language concepts, no matter their grade level. From basic calculations to calculus and SAT math, our Singapore Math program helps your students understand Common Core math, succeed on their standardized tests, and eventually get into the college of their dreams. Our English Language Arts classes also take children from basic conversational English to academic English. Rather than just drilling vocabulary and basic grammar, students will access literary analysis methods and develop research and presentation skills in a native English-speaking environment.  These are essential skills for students who plan to study in an international environment in the future.


  1. Common Core Standards Organization
  2. Understood, “Common Core State Standards: What You Need to Know
  3. Edweek, “The Common Core Explained
  4. Edutopia, “What Do Parents Need to Know About the Common Core?


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