Standards-Based Education & Common Core State Standards (CCSS)Top of Page

The State of California places a strong emphasis on implementing a standards-based curriculum. In language arts, mathematics, social science, and science, the State has defined specifically what students should know and be able to do in kindergarten through grade twelve.

What are Common Core State Standards?

In 2009, a national effort began to standardize standards across states.  The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA) committed to developing a set of standards that would help prepare students for success in career and college. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative resulted in the creation of common standards for English-language arts and mathematics, kindergarten through grade twelve. The standards are founded upon the best state standards; the experiences of teachers, content experts, and leading thinkers; and feedback from the general public. In addition, the standards are internationally benchmarked to the top performing nations to ensure that our students are globally competitive. Parents, educators, content experts, researchers, national organizations, and community groups from forty-eight states, two territories, and the District of Columbia all participated in the development of the standards. The CCSS are rigorous, research-based, and relevant to the real world. On August 2, 2010, the California State Board of Education (SBE) voted unanimously to adopt the CCSS.  

Where Can Parents Get More Information on the Common Core State Standards?
Western Placer Unified School District is committed to keeping our parents informed about the new Common Core State Standards.  Click on the links below for additional information:

What About the New Tests and Accountability Systems?
Calfornia Standards Tests (CST's) in English Language Arts and Mathematics will be replaced by the new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) tests in 2015.  Teachers in Western Placer Unified School District are being provided with extensive professional development to teach to the new Common Core State Standards and to prepare their students for the new SBAC assessments.  CCSS and SBAC require thinking at deep levels, going beyond memorization of facts and details to synthesizing information and applying learning to real-life situations.  Students and families can explore the new SBAC Assessments through the following links:

What about the California High School Exit Exam?
The California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), which every student must pass to graduate from high school, is based on current state standards. Each student is expected to meet grade-level standards, starting in elementary school, to be able to pass the CAHSEE.  It is uncertain whether the new SBAC assessments will replace CAHSEE.

Are textbooks aligned to the new Common Core?
Textbooks currently in use at all grade levels have been approved by the State and are aligned with the previous CA state standards in math, language arts, social studies, and science. As new textbook adoptions that support the new CCSS are developed, they will be implemented districtwide, beginning with Mathematics in the 2014/15 school year.  Until then, teachers will continue utilizing current textbooks and adjusting as necessary to meet CCSS requirements.

California State Content StandardsTop of Page

Content standards are designed to encourage the highest achievement of every student, by defining the knowledge, concepts, and skills that students should acquire at each grade level.  California adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Mathematics in 2010 - rigorous standards that are accepted at the national and international levels.  For more information on Common Core Standards, click here.

Click a link to view the current content standards adopted by the California State Board of Education for grades   K-12:

WPUSD Technology Content StandardsTop of Page

Click here to view the Information Technology page, then click a link to view WPUSD Technology Content Standards for achieving computer competency goals:


Common TermsTop of Page

Standards-based education represents a major commitment to academic excellence. It is very important for students and parents to understand the terms and how the process works.
  • Content standards state what are the most important skills or concepts for a student to know and/or to be able to do (i.e. new knowledge and skills to be learned in each subject and at each grade level.)
  • Rubrics (also known as scoring guides) are often used to evaluate the quality of student work.
  • Proficiency levels state the relative ability of students to equal or exceed the quality of work represented by performance models and are based on how well students do on specific proficiency assessments or tasks.
  • Common Care State Standards (CCSS) are the new standards that were adopted by 48 states including California in 2010, "raising the bar" in terms of what students are expected to know and be able to do to be college and career ready upon graduating from high school.  These standards are consistent across states.
  • California Exit Exam (CAHSEE) is the examination that all students must pass, in addition to local graduation requirements, in order to earn a high school diploma.

Focused InstructionTop of Page

Teachers help your child to meet the required academic standards. Teachers focus instruction on standards identified for each subject in each grade level. Students are made aware of the standards being taught. Students are provided with information about how their work will be evaluated and how their level of proficiency will be determined. Teachers will continue to seek to modify instruction to meet a wide variety of learning styles and levels of ability.

Communicating Results to ParentsTop of Page

The CA standards are summarized on a standards-based report card in grades K - 5. The report card indicates the status of your child's work toward reaching the end of the year proficiency level on each "key standard." Parents will know if their child is "below," "minimum" "proficient," or "advanced" on the standard represented.  Report cards for grades K - 5 will be revised to correlate with the new Common Core State Standards with the new report cards being implemented in the 2014/15 school year. 

District policy and California law may require retention for students who fail to meet standards. Please closely follow your child's progress and consult frequently with his or her teacher.

Helping Your Child Reach Required StandardsTop of Page

Learning is a continuous process that involves the home as well as the school. Children need to see the relationship between the classroom learning experience and their lives out of school. Children benefit from the knowledge that parents are interested and supportive of their educational progress. The following are general guidelines for parental involvement in children's education:
  1. Establish a regular routine for the completion of homework.
  2. Provide a quiet time and place for study.
  3. Offer encouragement and help in completing assignments.
  4. Ensure daily school attendance - with no tardies.
  5. Maintain a positive manner about your child's school.
  6. Communicate frequently with your child's teacher.

Writing Guides and RubricsTop of Page

Western Placer Unified School District uses Step Up to Writing as its elementary writing program.  At the middle school level, teachers have been trained in the Jane Schaffer writing program.  All students and teachers in grades 3 - 12 make use of the WPUSD Stylebook - an Interdisciplinary Guide to Writing as a guide for formal writing assignments.