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The NC State Board of Education, acting in concert with the General Assembly (See SB 1463) and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (PL 107-110) requirements, developed a new vision for this system to bring NC's standards into the 21st Century. This new vision necessitated a bottom-to-top change in all content areas to bring the standards in line with current student needs.

The Report from the Blue Ribbon Commission on Testing and Accountability to the State Board of Education (January 2008) made several recommendations TO WHOM, including the following:

  • The K-12 curriculum must be reviewed in a comprehensive and interdisciplinary fashion. Power standards must be articulated for each grade level with appropriate curriculum extensions for students with disabilities. The curriculum must reflect 21st Century skill sets. The curriculum must be rigorous and relevant, and reflect relationships between and among subject areas.
  • New tests and assessments should be developed based on the power standards articulated for each grade level, including appropriate extensions for students with exceptionalities. Teachers and principals should be provided with extensive and intensive quality professional development focused on the new curricula and the use of formative assessment to improve instruction.
  • The Board should seek funding from the General Assembly to provide the technological infrastructure needed for tests, as appropriate, to be administered on-line.

The State Board of Education's Framework for Change (June 2008) embraced all of these recommendations and more as it moved forward to develop a 21st Century accountability system. NCDPI's Response (October 2008) operationalized the Framework.

The National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers proposed the Common Core State Standards Initiative (Common Core) in early 2009. In summer 2009, 46 states, including NC, had decided to participate in the Standards' creation. This was the first time that a group of states had worked together to create standards for learning.

In June 2010, the NC State Board of Education adopted the Common Core in Math and English Language Arts to become the NC Standard Course of Study in these two key subjects.

NCDPI holds Summer Institutes in all regions of the state to help local educators prepare to teach the new Standard Course of Study in 2012-13. Local school district teams planned local professional development to prepare teachers.

NCDPI holds a second set of Summer Institutes to continue professional development initiatives.

New standards, assessments, resources, and accompanying professional development in every content area for use in the 2012-13 school year. For English language arts and mathematics, these new standards were the new Common Core State Standards.