Who Would Win? Virginia SOL or Common Core?

No matter where you live and teach, you have to work with standards that every student must learn.  As I have heard so much about Common Core, I wanted to look into how they were different from the Virginia Standards of Learning.

The good thing is that the Virginia DOE has done this for me!  The document is 236 pages long, just for English, but it does go all the way from K-12.  I really only looked at K-1 and then skipped to third grade since I taught 3rd grade for so long.  Click here for a link to the documents for reading and math.

There is a strong alignment in reading, though some differences can be found. Mainly, some of the comprhenension skills are part of reading in the content areas for CCSS.  There are also a few differences, though nothing that sticks out as not being covered.  Generally, students are learning all they need to learn, possibly at different places in their student careers.

For Math, there are quite a few differences.  One example is that fractions are not introduced in Common Core until 3rd grade, but they are first introduced in Kindergarten in Virginia.  The real difference is seen in middle and high schools as there are some differences in the tracks students can take.

So, how does VA match up the rest of the USA?  Pretty much the same.  There were a few differences.  For example, this notation was found throughout the document in Kindergarten:  "Note: CCSS specify “with prompting and support” while Virginia sets student performance expectations."  Now, I do know that in Kindergarten, even VA teachers do a lot of prompting.  You just have to sometimes!  Some of the VA standards in Kindergarten were not introduced until later in the students' careers with Common Core.

Needless to say, the standards match up pretty well, which is wonderful.  If they did not within a certain grade level, the students received the instruction in another grade level.   I do wish Virginia would have adopted the Common Core standards because it would keep our curriculum uniform throughout the country.  But, I am glad that they are similar enough!

Both of them are winners!

What really matters is that we are all teaching our students with all that we have!  They deserve the best, and standards don't always cover what is best.  So, we all need to keep doing what we are doing to make our students ready for the world that awaits them!

What do you think about the differences?

I'll see you again in March!

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