Special Student Populations

The CCSSM does not specify objectives for special student populations (struggling students, students who perform above grade levels, English-learning students). However, in its introduction (CCSSM; NGA & CCSSO, 2010), it reads:

The Standards set grade-specific standards but do not define the intervention methods or materials necessary to support students who are well below or well above grade-level expectations. It is also beyond the scope of the Standards to define the full range of supports appropriate for English language learners and for students with special needs. At the same time, all students must have the opportunity to learn and meet the same high standards if they are to access the knowledge and skills necessary in their post-school lives.


Recommendations for best practices to effectively engage students with special needs are addressed in The Council of Chief State School Officers’ document, InTASC: Model Core Teaching Standards and Learning Progressions for Teachers 1.0 (CCSSO, 2011, 2013), and echo standards advocated by NCTM standards for all students. Its Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) developed standards of teacher practices that are grouped into four domains of teaching: (A) The Learner and Learning, (B) Content, (C) Instructional Practice, and (D) Professional Responsibilities. Applicable across grades K-12 to improve student achievement and guided by the collaborative work of practicing teachers, teacher educators, school leaders, state agency officials, and CCSSO, the document states:

Teachers need to recognize that all learners bring to their learning varying experiences, abilities, talents, and prior learning, as well as language, culture, and family and community values that are assets that can be used to promote their learning. To do this effectively, teachers must have a deeper understanding of their own frames of reference (e.g., culture, gender, language, abilities, ways of knowing), the potential biases in these frames, and their impact on expectations for and relationships with learners and their families. Finally, teachers need to provide multiple approaches to learning for each student. One aspect of the power of technology is that it has made learners both more independent and more collaborative.


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