• Alabama College and Career Ready Standards Information for Parents

    Raising the bar and expecting more is hard work, particularly for students and teachers. New standards mean new ways of teaching and learning, and ultimately harder tests. To help our families achieve a greater understanding of what these new standards mean, Vestavia Hills City Schools provides this webpage with fact sheets, frequently answered questions, and links to information about Alabama's College and Career Ready Standards.

    What are Alabama's College and Career Ready Standards?
    Every student a graduate; every graduate prepared for real life

    • The Alabama College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS), which are based on the Common Core State Standards, are a set of academic standards for math and English being taught in K-12 classrooms across Alabama.
    • Academic standards are expectations for what students should know by the end of each school year. Alabama's standards focus on helping our students gain a deep understanding of concepts being taught and how they apply to real life.
    • Alabama's State Board of Education has the sole authority over what standards (expectations) our state adopts. Local school systems still develop their own curricula (how it's taught) and choose their own textbooks. Individual teachers still develop their own lesson plans.

    What does this mean for my child?
    Real learning for real life

    With the CCRS, Alabama students rely less on memorization and filling out worksheets. Instead, they focus on critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that will benefit them long after they finish their academic career.
    Alabama adopted the CCRS after conversations with officials from Alabama's colleges and employers about what our schools need to do in order to prepare all of our kids for success in life – whether they are going on to college or starting a career.

    Why was a change necessary?
    Setting higher and clearer goals for a successful future

    Our state's academic standards have not kept up with the changes in technology and the real-life skills students need to be successful. As a result:

    • One in five students that enter Alabama high schools do not earn a diploma in four years.
    • 33% of Alabama graduates who attend college are required to take high school- level classes their freshman year to reteach concepts they were supposed to learn in K-12 schools. This percentage is higher than the national average.

    How are Alabama's College and Career Ready Standards different from previous Courses of Study?
    Students must do more than retain information long enough to regurgitate it on an exam

    The Alabama College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS) expect more of students than previous standards, and they will help ensure students are prepared for real life. University of Alabama professor Jeremy Zelkowski, a former high-school math teacher, has extensively studied Alabama's new math standards and says the new standards will help make Alabama schools more competitive internationally. According to Zelkowski, Alabama's old standards only asked students to have a basic understanding of what was being taught, while the CCRS require students to do more than just memorize material long enough for their next exam.

    What can I do to support my child?

    Our students are up for the challenge, but parental involvement is critical. Things you can do at home include:

    • Set aside time every day when your child can concentrate on reading, writing, and math.
    • Ask your child questions about their schoolwork and encourage them to explain how they got to an answer. Remember that students are learning to be problem solvers and critical thinkers.

    Talk to your child's teacher and ask how you can help at home.