Definition of Common Expectations

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Each year, thousands of Ohio students make the transition from high school to higher education and work. Students' readiness for the future depends upon the content and rigor of their K- 1 2 educational program and the opportunities they have for demonstrating their knowledge and skill. But many students--as well as many educators and parents--are uncertain about what will be expected in college and university classrooms and on the job.

As partners with the common vision of preparing all learners for a lifetime of challenges, Ohio's K-12 and higher education communities are working to remove this uncertainty. Under the direction of the Joint Council of the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Board of Regents, a team of community members, parents, educators, employers, and higher education leaders have developed the Common Expectations for Ohio's High School Graduates.

What are Ohio's Common Expectations?

The Common Expectations identify what a student needs to know and be able to do in order to make a successful transition from high school to higher education and work. Following review by nationally recognized experts and the public, final publication of these Common Expectations will enable educators, students, and parents to identify knowledge and skills that are essential for freshmen-level study at Ohio's colleges and universities and for participation in the adult workforce. The Common Expectations address six content areas--mathematics, social studies, science, language arts, foreign language, and the arts. They also identify knowledge and skills that are important to lifelong learning and the use of knowledge in the real world--problem-solving, communicating effectively, working responsibly, and managing resources.

Why Are the Common Expectations Important?

By describing the desired results of a high school education, the Common Expectations for Ohio's High School Graduates help secondary teachers create learning experiences that will prepare their students for higher education and work, as well as guide students and parents as they select courses. But future benefits will be more far-reaching since the Common Expectations also will make it possible to align curriculum and assessment throughout the K-12 and higher education system. This alignment already is under way. Currently, the Common Expectations are guiding the process of creating gradelevel benchmarks that illustrate significant points of progress toward readiness for higher education and work. This draft of the Common Expectations includes benchmarks written for grades 4, 8, and 1 2, which will be helpful to all students, parents, and educators as they set learning goals and assess student progress at each successive -grade level.

What Are the Future Implications?

The Common Expectations will inform the revision of Ohio's Competency-Based Education Models. These models, which guide local curriculum development, include grade-level instructional objectives that can be aligned with the grade-level benchmarks for the Common Expectations.

Finally, the Common Expectations are informing Ohio's proficiency testing system. Based on a comparison between Ohio's new Graduation Qualifying Exam Competencies and the Common Expectations, Ohioans can be confident that the content students are required to master before graduation are aligned with the knowledge and skills higher education institutions and employers expect (after graduation. To ensure even greater alignment, the Common Expectations also will guide writing teams now working on a new version of the twelfth-grade proficiency test, as well as future teams that will revise the fourth- and sixth-grade tests.

Imagine the power of an educational system with clear expectations. With such a system in place, Ohio can become a state where all students know that what they are learning in the present is linked to their future goals for higher education and work.


This definition of Common Expectations was taken from page 3 of a document titled "Common Expectations for Ohio's High School Graduates". To get a copy of the full document (53 pages), contact Margaret Trent by phone at (614) 466-4838, or by E-mail at

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