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Common Core Resources for Special Education

Resources and guidelines on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for the Special Education Community.

Educational standards describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject in each grade. In California, the State Board of Education decides on the standards for all students, from kindergarten through high school. Since 2010, 45 states have adopted the same standards for English and math. These standards are called the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Having the same standards helps all students get a good education, even if they change schools or move to a different state. Teachers, parents, and education experts designed the standards to prepare students for success in college and the workplace. For details regarding the CCSS for all students visit the main CCSS Web page.

This site offers resources and guidelines on what the CCSS and the new tests will mean for California students in the Special Education Community.

California Standards

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English and math define what students need to learn at each grade level. They provide a chance to improve access to quality content standards for students with disabilities.



  • CCSS: Implications for students with disabilities External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF; 3MB)
    This presentation by Martha Thurlow provides contextual information regarding the instruction and assessment of students with disabilities including a description of this student population. It presents information on how the principles of college and career readiness and common core state standards apply to these students. Unique instructional concerns for students with disabilities are addressed including the provision of supports and accommodations and appropriate IEP development. Promising practices in the design of instruction and assessment are also outlined.

  • Special Educators Look to Tie Individual Education Programs (IEPs) to CCSS External link opens in new window or tab.
    This article considers aligning students' individualized education programs (IEPs) to the CCSS.

  • Assessment Principles and Guidelines for ELLs with Disabilities External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
    Written by Martha Thurlow, Kristin Liu, Jenna Ward, and Laurene Christensen, this document looks at improving the validity of assessment results for English language learners with disabilities.

Parents and Students

Other Resources

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

A MTSS is a framework for serving all students that supports the systematic provision of interventions directly related to students’ needs. The needs to be addressed are determined by consistent monitoring of each student’s unique learning progression. A successful MTSS framework supports all students through high-quality and universally designed general education instruction at Tier 1 and more-intensive interventions at Tiers II and III, including universal screening, progress monitoring, flexible mobility between tiers, problem-solving teams, and parent input.

Instructional Supports for Learning

Instructional supports for learning based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) foster student engagement by presenting information in multiple ways and promote equal opportunities to learn for all students.

Instructional Accommodations

Instructional accommodations provide many pathways to learning and consist of strategies that consider each individual’s unique strengths, needs and learning preferences within the existing classroom structures. Accommodations change materials and procedures allowing students to learn within the framework of the CCSS, but do not change the standards.

Questions:   Kristen Brown | | 916-445-1064
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, February 4, 2020
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