AASL Comments on the Draft Common Core K-12 Standards

As part of the public comment on the grade level bands of the Common Core Standards, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has reviewed the draft documents and provides the following feedback.

  • The straight forward structure and organization of the grade bands generally work well for ease of reference and to show the progression of skills.

  • The disciplinary literacy sections of the ELA standards are important as they emphasize that students need different skills for different resources, texts, and subjects.

  • Generally, references to digital and online media should be infused throughout the standards and appear at all grade levels so that students read, view and listen for information in any format to gather meaning. We suggest that students' exposure to, use of, and interaction with digital resources and social media should begin at earlier grade levels than those found in the ELA writing and speaking and listening sections.

  • Descriptions of inquiry and information literacy skills and the progression of these skills are not always consistent with other national standards. For example, rather than having the 8th grade student "assess the truth" of a speaker's presentation in the speaking and listening section, AASL's Standards for the 21st Century Learner would have the student apply critical thinking skills to draw conclusions and make informed decisions (see standard 2). And while being able to communicate the results of an inquiry investigation are essential, the process leading to that final product is also important. The process of finding, evaluating, organizing, using, and creating information is critical and requires greater emphasis.

  • Educators will appreciate having grade level examples of illustrative text, as found in the ELA standards. While it is important to recognize the role of classics in children's reading development, many of the books selected seem dated. We suggest a dynamic list of illustrative text that is frequently updated with references to current examples of children's and young adult literature.

  • Finally, the school librarian plays a critical role in facilitating student and faculty learning in the areas of inquiry-based learning, information literacy, digital literacy, and exposure to literature and informational text. AASL suggests that mention of the school librarian's part in implementation of these standards would help foster such collaboration at the school level.

Adopted 04/05/2010