Common Core

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

With the new Common Core State Standards comes a new standardized test, called the Smarter Balanced Assessment. New Hampshire schools will take it for the first time in the spring of 2015, and in many ways, it’s the new test that will determine how the Common Core is taught.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Next year is the deadline for New Hampshire schools to transition to the Common Core State Standards. This means a change in topics for different grades, and a change in how teachers teach. For some schools this will be a big change, but others are well on their way to adapting to the new academic standards.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Common Core State Standards, a set of goal posts for public school students that have been adopted by 45 states, are well on their way to being implemented in New Hampshire. But those same standards are at the center of a widening backlash in other states that hasn’t really caught on in New Hampshire.

Support and opposition to the Common Core does not break down cleanly along party lines. On the one hand, Florida’s former Republican governor Jeb Bush is a big supporter of the standards, as are many liberal politicians.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

As this school year comes to a close, teachers are preparing for next fall, when a massive transition will begin. Starting next year, schools are expected to align their teaching to the Common Core State Standards. Those standards are a set of learning goals for public school students that have been adopted in 45 states and the District of Colombia. Released in 2010, they lay out what students should know when they finish each grade.

By the 2014-2015 school year, the new Common Core State Standards are set to be in full effect.

  • What are the Common Core standards?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Why the push for new educational standards at all?
  • What arguments are critics making against it?
  • What exactly will change for students & teachers in the classroom?
  • How will the new standardized testing affect school curriculum?

In a week-long series, NHPR education reporter Sam Evans-Brown answers all these questions and more on the Common Core.

New Hampshire is among some forty states to adopt this more rigorous set of standards for math and language arts in public schools. But just as this bi-partisan effort becomes reality, the system is facing some backlash from both the right and left. We’ll find out more about Common Core and the challenges it faces getting off the ground.


Flikr Creative Commons / Lars Hammar

As expected the state Department of Education today formally asked the federal government for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind law. The state's request is 96 pages long, it's a full document, but NHPR's Brady Carlson sat down with reporter Sam Evans-Brown talk about what it contains.

Brady Carlson: What does getting a waiver from No Child Left Behind actually mean?