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Supporting Students with Disabilities


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. The IEP team will continue to provide adaptations and supports for each student, shaping them within the context of the CCSS 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 CCSS 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

  • Engagement (options for learners to engage and persist),
  • Representation (options for instructors to communicate course concepts), and
  • Action and Expression (options for students to demonstrate what they have learned).

Understanding the Assessments

Most students with disabilities will be taking the Smarter Balanced assessments. The Smarter Balanced summative assessments align directly to the CCSS standards and will be accompanied by a Digital Library of Formative Tools and Practices, which will offer numerous helpful resources, including formative assessments. (This is original content- below is taken from the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress website and is more current/content rich)

*Most students with disabilities will be taking the Smarter Balanced assessments and may require accessibility resources to fully engage and demonstrate mastery of content during instruction and on assessments. To better serve them, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) provides a wide range of resources to ensure that the administration of the test meets the needs of all students, including those with disabilities. The California Assessment Accessibility Resources Matrix displays the embedded and non-embedded universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations allowed as part of the CAASPP and English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) systems. For a detailed account of California's assessments, visit the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress resources.

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

What are the Common Core Standards?

Create CCSS-based IEPs

Common Core Resources for Special Education

Understand UDL

UDL Center External link opens in new window or tab.

Cast External link opens in new window or tab.

Align Lesson Plans

Professional Development for Teachers – BetterLesson Professional Learning Connected External link opens in new window or tab.

Know the New Assessments

Smarter Balanced

Smarter Balanced Assessment System

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress

Learn About Accommodations

Accommodations for the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress System

Engage Parents

Common Core Resources for Special Education

Achieve the Core: Common Core Intro for Parents External link opens in new window or tab.

Questions:   Special Education Division | Focused Monitoring Technical Assistance Consultant
Last Reviewed: Monday, March 27, 2023
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