Development Process

The state-led effort to develop the Common Core State Standards was launched in 2009 by state leaders, including governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states, two territories and the District of Columbia, through their membership in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). State school chiefs and governors recognized the value of consistent, real-world learning goals and launched this effort to ensure all students, regardless of where they live, are graduating high school prepared for college, career, and life.

The standards are informed by:

  • The best state standards already in existence
  • The experience of teachers, content experts, states, and leading thinkers
  • Feedback from the public

The full list of criteria used to develop the standards is available here.

Timeline for the Development of College- and Career-Readiness Standards and K-12 Standards

State education standards have been around since the early 1990s. By the early 2000s, every state had developed and adopted its own learning standards that specify what students in grades 3-8 and high school should be able to do. Every state also had its own definition of proficiency, which is the level at which a student is determined to be sufficiently educated at each grade level and upon graduation. This lack of standardization was one reason why states decided to develop the Common Core State Standards in 2009.

The development of the Common Core State Standards is a success story of meaningful, state-led change to help all students succeed.

During the development process, the standards were divided into two categories:

  • First, the college- and career-readiness standards, which address what students are expected to know and understand by the time they graduate from high school
  • Second, the K-12 standards, which address expectations for elementary school through high school

The college- and career-readiness standards were developed first and then incorporated into the K-12 standards in the final version of the Common Core we have today. The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) received nearly 10,000 comments on the standards during two public comment periods. Many of the comments from teachers, parents, school administrators, and other citizens concerned with education policy helped shape the final version of the standards.

Teachers played a critical role in development

The Common Core State Standards drafting process relied on teachers and standards experts from across the country. Teachers were involved in the development process in four ways:

  1. They served on the Work Groups and Feedback Groups for the ELA and math standards.
  2. The National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), among other organizations were instrumental in bringing together teachers to provide specific, constructive feedback on the standards
  3. Teachers were members of teams states convened to provide regular feedback on drafts of the standards.
  4. Teachers provided input on the Common Core State Standards during the two public comment periods.

See The Timeline

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
x

November 2007

State chiefs discuss developing common standards during CCSSO's Annual Policy Forum in Columbus, Ohio.

x

December 2008

NGA, CCSSO, and Achieve release Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education. The report, guided by an advisory group that included governors, state education chiefs, and leading education researchers, recommended states “upgrade state standards by adopting a common core of internationally benchmarked standards in math and language arts for grades K-12 to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to be globally competitive.”

x

April 2009

NGA and CCSSO convene governors’ education policy advisors and chief state school officers in Chicago to discuss creation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. As a result, NGA and CCSSO invite states to commit to a process to develop common standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Based on the interest from states, work to develop the standards commenced.

x

May 2009

Development begins on the college and career ready standards to address what students are expected to know and understand by the time they graduate from high school. Following that work, an initial feedback group receives the first draft of college and career readiness graduation standards for review.

x

June 2009

CCSSO and NGA announce commitment from governors and chief state school officers from 49 states and territories to participate in a state-led process to develop common standards in for English language arts/literacy and mathematics. By September, the finally tally will include 51 states and territories.

x

June 2009

To prepare to develop the grade by grade standards based on the college and career readiness standards, steps are taken to organize the development and review process. Formal work groups and feedback groups are created to develop and review the K-12 standards. Teachers were involved in the work groups and at every stage of review.

x

July 2009

States and feedback group provide further guidance to CCSSO and NGA on draft college and career readiness standards.

x

September 2009

NGA and CCSSO release for public comment a draft of college and career ready standards (a product of input from the standards' writing team, state education agency leaders, and a panel of outside education experts and practitioners). Nearly 1,000 responses, summarized here, were received from educators and the public.

x

October 2009

States and feedback group provide additional comments. A validation committee, formed earlier in the year to provide independent, expert validation of the process of identify Common Core State Standards, comments on college and career readiness standards.

x

November 2009

First draft of the K-12 grade by grade college and career readiness standards is released for comment by chiefs and other state education agency staff (the states). This draft – the college and career readiness standards – is incorporated into the grade by grade standards and are now known as the “K-12 grade by grade college and career readiness standards.”

x

December 2009

Validation committee provides edits and feedback on draft of K-12 grade by grade college and career readiness standards.

x

January 2010

CCSSO and NGA request states’ feedback on a revised draft of the K-12 grade by grade college and career readiness standards. Several independent reviews of the standards begin.

x

February 2010

Revised version of K-12 grade by grade college and career readiness standards distributed to states.

x

March 2010

CCSSO and NGA release draft K-12 grade by grade college and career readiness standards for public comment on www.corestandards.org. Educators and members of the public provide comments, summarized here.

x

June 2010

NGA and CCSSO release the final Common Core State Standards.

CCSSO and NGA release report summarizing the work of the validation committee, which reviewed the standards and found them:

  • Reflective of the core knowledge and skills in ELA and mathematics that students need to be college- and career-ready;
  • Appropriate in terms of their level of clarity and specificity;
  • Comparable to the expectations of other leading nations;
  • Informed by available research or evidence;
  • The result of processes that reflect best practices for standards development;
  • A solid starting point for adoption of cross-state common core standards; and
  • A sound basis for eventual development of standards-based assessments.
x

2011

States and territories undergo their own processes for reviewing, adopting, and (in some states) ratifying the adoption of the Common Core State Standards. In each case, after reviewing the new standards, state boards of education members, governors, legislators, and/or chief state school officers took action to replace their existing standards with the Common Core State Standards.

x

2012

States and territories undergo their own processes for reviewing, adopting, and (in some states) ratifying the adoption of the Common Core State Standards. In each case, after reviewing the new standards, state boards of education members, governors, legislators, and/or chief state school officers took action to replace their existing standards with the Common Core State Standards.

x

2013

As of December 2013, 45 states, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Washington D.C., Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands have adopted the CCSS in ELA/literacy and math. They are now in the process of implementing the standards locally.

x

2014

As of June 2014, 43 states, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Washington D.C., Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands have adopted the CCSS in ELA/literacy and math. They are now in the process of implementing the standards locally.

Adoption

Once the development process concluded, states began voluntarily adopting the Common Core State Standards based on their existing process for education standard adoption. In most states, the state school board members formally adopted the standards. In others, the decision was made or ratified by the state superintendent of education, State Legislature, or governor.

Today, 43 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) have adopted the Common Core and are implementing the standards according to their own timelines. To learn more about the standards in your state and for information on how states that adopted the Common Core are implementing them, visit the “Standards in Your State” section.