Arizona Aims Higher

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Academic Standards
  • 1 Prepares all students for success in college, career and life

    Coupled with instruction from effective teachers, the standards are more challenging and give Arizona students the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in life after high school.

  • 2 Relevant to the real world

    The standards encourage teachers to develop students’ critical-thinking, problem-solving and effective communication skills. These are the skills that employers demand and our students will require to be successful in the workplace.

  • 3 Standards - Not curriculum

    Arizona’s College & Career Ready Standards are a set of goals that outline what students should be able to know and do in each grade in English and math. Curricula are the tools, materials and textbooks used to teach the standards (how the standards are taught), which are decided by local decision makers who know their students best.

  • 4 Floor not the ceiling

    Standards set a baseline—a floor, not a ceiling. Schools can teach content higher than the standards if they desire.

  • 5 Reinforces local control

    Arizona has had academic standards for nearly three decades. Local school boards have their same level of authority as they have always had with the adoption of Arizona’s College & Career Ready Standards.

  • 6 Developed by states for states

    Arizona’s College & Career Ready Standards were developed by the nation’s governors and state school chiefs. The development process relied on teachers, experts from across the country (including Arizonans), and feedback from key stakeholders and the general public (10,000+ comments were received).

  • 7 Arizona educators led the development of the standards

    Experts from Arizona were involved in the development of the standards.

    • Dr. William McCallum, the University Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Head of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Arizona, was one of the lead writers of the math standards.
    • Sarah Baird, the 2009 Arizona Teacher of the Year, served on the Common Core State Standards Validation Committee.
    • Arizona teachers, superintendents, staff from the Arizona Department of Education, and others were also involved in reviewing and providing hundreds of comments to the standards.
  • 8 Voluntarily adopted, not federally mandated

    The Arizona State Board of Education adopted the standards voluntarily in June 2010. The standards were not federally mandated. The US Department of Education did provide incentives for adopting college and career ready standards to receive Race to the Top funds, however, no specific set of standards was required for adoption.

  • 9 Developmentally appropriate

    To be developmentally appropriate, curriculum should address all areas of development (NAEYC). The standards are not the curriculum and include two content areas (English and math). NAEYC recommends connecting curriculum (the practices, tools, textbooks and materials teachers use to teach the standards) with children’s interests, cultures and prior experiences to ensure they are developmentally appropriate. (Read more here).

  • 10 Better math instruction

    The math that students are learning in the classroom is not new math. In fact, the idea of teaching students the concepts behind the algorithms and ways of thinking beyond just memorizing formulas has been around for more than 30 years. Algorithms are still very important in mathematics, but instruction should not begin with them. Instead, teaching should begin with building a conceptual understanding of the idea and then once students understand the concept, the instruction can flow to the formula, algorithm, or other efficient method for carrying out the idea.

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