Eastern Christian School follows the New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards in all academic subjects except for Bible. Our learning standards for Bible come from Christian Schools International. When New Jersey shifted to the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts and Mathematics, our MAP testing, which is aligned to New Jersey Standards, also shifted to measure student growth against the standards. We have been assessing student growth against those standards since September of 2013.
[Related Read: Why EC Uses MAP, Not PARCC]
However, it is important to clarify that the Common Core refers to two things – standards and curriculum. The media coverage tends to discuss them as if they are the same thing. Common Core Standards are much different than the Common Core Curriculum.
Just as EC had done before with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards, we use the New Jersey Common Core State Standards as a benchmarking instrument to measure student growth. Measurement of student growth requires baseline standards to measure commonly accepted foundational skills at each level.
On the other hand, curriculum is what we choose to teach as we interact with the standards and make choices about what our students need to know, understand and be able to do. The Common Core Curriculum you hear about in the news is privately published “Common Core Aligned curriculum.” Textbook publishers have seen the shift to the Common Core Standards as an opportunity to make money. Anyone can label curriculum as “Common Core Aligned.” When parents see worksheets and other examples of confusing homework, they are seeing a publisher’s curriculum. The writers of the Common Core Standards did not and do not endorse curriculum resources.
The bottom line for us at Eastern Christian is that no outside entity makes choices for us about what we teach. Our Board of Directors is responsible for determining the curriculum – what we expect our students to know, understand and be able to do. Our curriculum alignment is reviewed and designed to fulfill the end we have in mind for our graduates as stated in our Board approved Graduate Profile:
“Utilizing Biblically informed inquiry and strong academic knowledge, an Eastern Christian graduate will think critically, exhibit curiosity and develop the discernment that will enable him/her to confidently and intentionally strive for excellence in every endeavor.
Having studied the message of Jesus Christ and having experienced models of Christian servanthood in community, the Eastern Christian graduate develops a healthy self-image. Recognizing and responding to the will of God, and seeing in humanity the image of God, the graduate embraces diversity, exhibits compassion, offers respect, and is forgiving and open to others.
The Eastern Christian graduate is prepared to be a person of Christian vision and influence and seeks to contribute cooperatively and responsibly to God’s mission of renewing all of creation.”