Common Core State Standards


Illinois is one of 42 states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. This page provides an overview of the standards and what they mean for District 401 schools.


What is Common Core?


Common Core is a rigorous and consistent set of academic standards that outlines what students should know and be able to do in ELA and math by the end of each school year from kindergarten to 12th grade.

The standards are based on decades of research on college and career readiness as well as comparative studies of international educational practices.

Illinois adopted the Common Core standards in June 2010 and implemented them during the 2013-14 school year.


Why Common Core Was Developed


In 2009, state school chiefs and governors created the Common Core initiative to develop standards that would replace the patchwork of uneven benchmarks and learning goals that existed from state to state.

The final version of the standards was released in 2010. The goal of Common Core is to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in college and the workforce regardless of where they live.


How Common Core Applies to District 401


District 401's instruction in English language arts and mathematics is fully aligned with the Common Core standards.


ELA Standards in Common Core


Common Core ELA standards emphasize:

► Regular practice with complex texts and their academic language

► Reading, writing and speaking grounded in evidence from texts, both literary and informational

► Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction


Math Standards in Common Core


Common Core math standards provide:

► Greater focus by concentrating on fewer topics

► Greater coherence by linking topics and thinking across grades

► Greater rigor by pursuing with equal intensity the goals of conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and the ability to apply those skills and concepts to solving real-world problems


Common Core and Teaching


The Common Core standards do not dictate what methods teachers should use in their classrooms. 

As the Illinois State Board of Education has noted: "The Common Core determines what educators should teach, not how they should teach. Teachers will continue to have the freedom to tailor lesson plans to the individual needs of their students."


How Student Progress Is Assessed


To assess student progress in ELA and math, Illinois administers an exam known as "PARCC," short for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

PARCC replaced the state’s previous assessment tool, the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT), in 2014-15.

The PARCC exam is given each spring to all public school students in 3rd through 8th grades. 


Where to Find PARCC Results


PARCC results for District 401 as a whole and for individual schools can be found in their respective state report cards (see below for links to results). The one exception is the Early Childhood Center, whose students (preschoolers and kindergarteners) don't take PARCC exams. 

District 401 PARCC Results

Elmwood Elementary School PARCC Results

John Mills Elementary School PARCC Results

Elm Middle School PARCC Results

Elmwood Park High School PARCC Results


Where to Learn More


The following links provide additional information about Common Core:

How Common Core was developed

Frequently asked questions about Common Core

What parents should know about Common Core

A detailed look at English language arts standards for each grade level

A detailed look at mathematics standards for each grade level