A final set of national academic standards released Wednesday by groups representing the nation’s governors and state schools chiefs calls for students with disabilities to be “challenged to excel within the general curriculum.”
Known as the Common Core State Standards, members of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers collaborated to establish national guidelines for English and math instruction in kindergarten through twelfth grade.
The final version unveiled this week reflects tweaks made in response to almost 10,000 public comments submitted after a draft plan was released in March.
Each state will decide whether or not to adopt the recommendations, which are designed to establish high expectations that are uniform across the country and ensure students leave high school ready for college and careers.
The standards outline specific skills students should master in English and math at each grade level. For example, under the guidelines first graders should understand when to capitalize words and how to punctuate a sentence. Sixth graders should understand mathematical terms like sum, quotient and coefficient.
Special education students should be held to the same academic standards outlined for all students in each grade level, according to a supplemental document released alongside the plan. What’s more, instruction for those with even the most severe cognitive disabilities should “retain the rigor and high expectations of the Common Core State Standards.”
Accordingly, students with disabilities will likely need supports and accommodations as called for in their individualized education plans, or IEPs, the standards indicate.
The Department of Education is offering incentives for states that adopt the new standards, but it remains unclear how many states will choose to do so.