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The Common Core: Supporting Students with Disabilities—What Educators Need to Do

Meet the Needs of All

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were created to meet the needs of all students, regardless of ability or disability. To lay the foundation for all students to become college, career, and/or community ready, teachers will need to align academic goals in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) to the CCSS and create behavioral, communicative, functional, social/emotional, and transition goals that support the academic goals. IEP team will continue to provide adaptations and supports for each student, shaping them within the
context of the new standards.

Face the Challenge

Teachers of students with disabilities face real challenges when building lesson plans. For students to realize success at grade level, teachers still must give them as much of the general education curriculum as possible. Collaboration with general education teachers is essential to helping students succeed. The good news is that teaching to the new standards will bring more in-depth instruction and more practical lessons applicable to life outside of school. One way to build a lesson plan based on the CCSS, regardless of a student's current level of achievement, is to look at the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as the instructional design, especially for a diverse range of learners. The principles of UDL involve

Understand the New Assessments

Most students with disabilities will be taking the Smarter Balanced assessments. The current Smarter Balanced field test will help test designers refine the content and delivery of the assessments to students, including students with visual, auditory, linguistic, or physical needs. These summative assessments align directly to the new standards and will be accompanied by a Digital Library of Formative Tools and Practices, which will offer numerous helpful resources, including formative assessments.

In 2013–14, most students with significant cognitive disabilities will take the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA). However, California is also participating in the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) Phase I Pilot/Field Test in 2013–14. The NCSC is working to build an alternate assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities, based on alternate achievement standards aligned to the CCSS. The goal of the NCSC is to ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for postsecondary options. The NCSC supports teachers by providing quality resources that will help them design instruction that is grounded in the CCSS and deliver that instruction to students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Engage Parents

When parents and family members understand—and are committed to—the CCSS, their child will have a better chance of succeeding in school. Be sure parents know that the CCSS mean that their child will learn subject matter in greater detail and depth. And engage parents in learning about the CCSS so that they have the opportunity to assist their children in truly understanding what is being taught.

Essential Resources

Learn the Common Core

Create CCSS-based IEPs

Understand UDL

Modify Curriculum and Instruction

Align Lesson Plans

Know the New Assessments

Smarter Balanced

[select "Alternate Assessment" tab]

Learn About Accommodations

Engage Parents

IDEAS that Work!

Project READ is a California Department of Education, Special Education Division project funded through a federal competitively-awarded State Personnel Development Grant to California (#H323A120019) provided from the U.S. Department of Education Part D of the Individuals with Disabilities Education act (IDEA), Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.

Last updated: 05/29/2015