Common Core State Standards
BALANCING COMMON CORE and IEP GOALS
Common Core strikes a nerve in most every teacher when hearing the phrase. Many feel "under the thumb" of Common Core. We are to create meaningful lessons that differentiate for individual student needs but "it must be Common Core." The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an educational initiative from 2010 that details what K–12 students throughout the United States should know in English language arts and mathematics at the conclusion of each school grade. Educators are always striving to find that balance between adhering to Common Core and meeting the unique needs of learners - such as my population that I serve - students with mild/moderate disabilities.
IEP Goals are ALIGNED with Common Core State Standards. Here comes the challenge and a common situation all special educators face: Johnny Student is a 6th grader but he is assessed at a reading level commensurate of a mid 2nd grader. IEP goals need to be written into Johnny Student's IEP based on his assessed abilities. An example of a grade six CC goal is:
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 6 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
Is this appropriate for Johnny? This is when we need balance. We can choose this actual goal from the IEP goal bank, but the RIGOR must be changed. We can rewrite this goal and include accommodations and a different expectation, which will still address the CC standard to read something like this:
By 4/25/2022, given supports such as extra time and access to audio books, Johnny will determine the meaning of a word or phrase at his individual reading level when shown a set of two vocabulary words and their meanings, 80% of the time in 3 consecutive trials, as measured by teacher charted records.