Common Core Standards


Illinois is one of 41 states that have adopted the Common Core 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 curricular offerings in English language arts and mathematics are fully aligned to 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 textual evidence
  • Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction

The complete Common Core standards for ELA are available at this link:


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 conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and the application of those skills and concepts to real-world problems

The complete Common Core standards for math are available at this link:


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 in grades 3-8, Illinois administers an exam known as the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR).

At the high school level, progress is measured by the PSAT 8/9 (grade 9), the PSAT 10 (grade 10) and the SAT (grade 11).


Where to Find IAR and SAT Results


IAR and SAT results for District 401 as a whole and for individual D401 schools can be found in their respective state report cards (see below for links to results).


Where to Learn More


The following links provide additional information about Common Core: