Common Core State Standards in Arkansas

Instructor: A Ray Tatum

A. Ray has taught junior high, high school and college English and has a master's degree in curriculum.

In 2011, Arkansas began implementing Common Core state standards for English language arts and mathematics. The state has also revised standards for fields like social studies and English language learning to align with the Common Core's literacy standards. Here is an overview of those standards with material for educators to enhance their classroom activities.

Common Core and the State Standards of Arkansas

Arkansas's vision of student-oriented education is at the forefront of their mission to make sure every child graduates with the tools necessary for community engagement, career advancement or college success. By tying the state's English language arts, literacy and math education standards to the Common Core, it has taken a step in meeting that goal.

Disciplinary Literacy Standards

Arkansas educators recognize that reading is more than just a good book for summer enjoyment. Reading for comprehension is vital across the curricula and will be emphasized throughout a student's years in history, social studies, science and other technical courses.

In grades 6-12, Arkansas students will be expected to zero in on key components of the College and Career Readiness (CCR) anchor standards in literacy. Students are expected to identify the main ideas and key details in a variety of texts. They should also be able to decipher technical language used in a text and evaluate its structure. Analyzing and evaluating content, whether presented in the form of a primary historical text, photograph, diagram or scientific paper, is another key skill to be mastered.

English Language Arts

Language arts is the only subject area required every year a student is in an Arkansas school. Each year progressively increases a student's reading comprehension, writing, listening and speaking abilities.

From kindergarten to senior year, students will focus on a variety of nonfiction texts as well as the themes and literary devices found within works of English, American and world literature. These nonfiction and fiction requirements help students develop their critical-thinking skills as well as their vocabularies. Students also learn to follow the rules of English grammar and use a variety of data and information to support the claims made in their research projects, essays and speeches.


Mathematics standards stress how important it is to establish a strong foundation in the basics as early as possible. Starting in kindergarten, students learn about basic whole number properties and the steps involved in arithmetic operations, like addition and subtraction, so that by the time they finish fifth grade, they have confidence in their ability to work with fractions, geometric shapes and the beginnings of algebra.

High schools should work diligently to prepare all students for careers and college by not only strengthening student knowledge gained in middle school geometry and algebra courses, but also by helping students see that math has real-world applications. Mathematics must be seen as a vital tool that can be used to make decisions in everyday life.

Common Core Resources

Instructional resources and study aids for parents and educators can be found on's Common Core resources page. You will find over 40 courses that pay close attention to the standards set out by the Common Core. They are easy to access and include short, engaging video lessons to help 6th through 12th graders meet ELA, literacy and mathematics standards. Plenty of quizzes and exams are also available to help students review information and test their knowledge.

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