Educators across the country are defining and deploying innovative strategies to engage students and to build foundations for academic and professional success in the 21st Century. The imperative is driven by high school dropout rates and by graduates who are not equipped for the rigors of college-level studies or career/trade educational programs.
The challenge is to position high school graduates as college students who will be expected to acquire knowledge, analyze and evaluate information, explore ideas (in depth and in a logical manner), draw conclusions, and test theories. Students must be equipped to think creatively and critically and to conduct meaningful research that leads to understanding through discovery. Unfortunately, too many of our students graduate from high school without these skills because traditional curricular testing has emphasized content knowledge. High school assignments often guide students step-by-step through the learning process so that when students reach college, they often struggle without close support and direction.
In 2009, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) took a significant step toward ensuring students graduate from high school equipped to take on the challenges of academic and career pathways. The NGA and CCSSO introduced the Common Core State Standards to strengthen foundational literacies that are the key to high school graduation and success beyond high school.