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New Common Core Emphasizes Problem-Solving In The Classroom

States come up with standards about what students should learn and up until this year there wasn't much coordination between them. Something called the Common Core changes that. Nearly all states have adopted the Common Core. It's a set of math and language arts standards that stress not just learning facts and numbers, but applying that knowledge. It also tries to provide more coordination between what students learn in different subjects. Susan Jackson, a CMS language arts teacher, gives examples of assignments working off the Common Core on a video posted on the district's website. Say, kids are learning about the Industrial Revolution in social studies. In Language Arts, they'd read a Charles Dickens novel and write about the importance of money, being sure to "give examples from past or current events" to illustrate or clarify their positions. CMS teachers have been preparing for the shift over the past year. They're receiving additional training in the days leading up to the start of school. Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark says kids will see differences in the classroom with assignments. For one, there will be more problem-solving. "Rather than rote memorization, students are going to be expected to explain in writing or to explain verbally or to analyze to get to a different place than our more traditional approach where you have four answer choices you pick one of them or you decide where something is true or false," says Clark. The state plans to change its end of year tests this year to reflect this new emphasis.