Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

The Common Core State Standards and Students with Visual Impairments

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What are the Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards are designed to provide a clear and consistent framework defining what all students are expected to know and be able to do. Educational standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful by providing clear goals for student learning. They are not a substitute for a curriculum and must be complemented by a well-developed, content-rich curriculum consistent with the expectations laid out in the Standards.

 

Which subject areas are including in the The Common Core State Standards?

The Common Core State Standards are available for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math.  Other groups are working on developing standards for Science, The Arts, and World Languages.

 

Is the Common Core the same across all states?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). As of now, 45 states have adopted these standards.  

 

How do they apply to students who are blind or visually impaired?

All students, regardless of their ability to read print, should have access to the Common Core State Standards.   English Language Arts and Math materials should be made available in whatever the prefered format or medium is for each student, whether that be braille, large print, or auditorily, as through the use of a screen reader. Students who are blind or visually impaired use "compensatory skills" to gain access to the common core curricula.  This means that they should make use of strategies, techniques, and adapted materials, including the specific reading and writing methods of: braille, regular print, regular print with optical devices, large print, and voice output technology.

Some states have also developed specific standards for braille users (see below).

 

What are some key design considerations for students who are blind or visually impaired?

According to this document, "The Standards should also be read as allowing for the widest possible range of students to participate fully from the outset and as permitting appropriate accommodations to ensure maximum participation of students with special education needs. For example, for students with disabilities reading should allow for the use of Braille, screen-reader technology, or other assistive devices, while writing should include the use of a scribe, computer, or speech-to-text technology. In a similar vein, speaking and listening should be interpreted broadly to include sign language."

 

Have any states adapted the Common Core Standards for students who are blind or visually impaired?

The following states have adapted the Common Core Standards or developed specific standards for students who are blind or visually impaired/braille readersIf your state is working on this or you have additional resources to share with us, please contact us

California Braille Reading Standards (aligned with California content standards for students who use print, although not specifically Common Core) -- 2006

California Braille Mathematics Standards (aligned with California content standards for students who use print, although not specifically Common Core) -- 2006

Maryland Common Core State Curriculum Frameworks for Braille (ELA and Math) -- 2012

Utah Braille Core Standards, Aligned with the Utah Core Curriculum Standards for English Language Arts K-6 -- 2012

Utah Braille Core Standards, Aligned with the Utah Core Curriculum Standards for Math K-6 -- 2012

 

What other resources are available for the Common Core and students who are blind or visually impaired?

 

Additional Resources

Access to the Common Core for All:  Six principles for principals to consider in implementing CCSS for students with disabilities
By Margaret J. McLaughlin
Principal, September/October 2012