Educator Shares Tips to Avoid the Summer Learning Slide and Improve Critical Common Core Competencies by Tying Learning to Real-World Activities this Summer

PHOENIX, June 13, 2014 — A recent national survey from University of Phoenix® College of Education finds that eight-in-ten (81 percent) K-12 teachers cite benefits to Common Core State Standards  curriculum, despite national debate that has surrounded the new standards. Among the top benefits, 49 percent of teachers believe Common Core provides benchmarks for students' progress, 38 percent believe it ties curriculum more closely to real-world scenarios, 37 percent believe it encourages more knowledge sharing among educators, and 31 percent feel the curriculum prepares students for future careers. The newly released online survey of more than 1,000 full-time K-12 teachers in the U.S. was conducted on behalf of University of Phoenix College of Education by Harris Poll in the fourth quarter of 2013.

"Common Core State Standards are designed to ensure that students graduate from primary and secondary education with the real-world skills needed to be successful in college and the workforce," said Dr. Ashley Norris, assistant dean and faculty member for University of Phoenix College of Education. "While the national dialogue surrounding implementation and evaluation of success under the standards is ongoing, the survey confirms that educators largely agree the concepts provide tangible benefits for students."

Some parents may worry their children haven't been prepared with the prerequisite skills needed to successfully transition to critical thinking-focused learning curriculum. Norris recommends using the typical "extracurricular-focused" summer months to help boost a child's Common Core-readiness. According to Norris, if students are not engaged in learning activities in the summer, they can lose significant knowledge from the previous school year. This reality could be particularly challenging for students who struggled to adapt to the new standards in the 2013-14 school year.

Norris recommends the following tips to improve Common Core skills this summer break:

  1. Connect math to real-world problem solving. Math assignments under Common Core will ask students to explain in writing how they arrived at their answers – not just to identify the answers. Use real-world scenarios, such as breaking down the household monthly utility bill to help drive the connection for your child.
  2. Encourage more nonfiction reading. Under Common Core, students' reading assignments will increasingly be nonfiction, such as online newspapers, autobiographies and technical manuals. While reading the paper each morning, encourage your child to participate by identifying articles that are age and grade-level appropriate. Then, have a family discussion to gauge your child's understanding of the material.
  3. Focus on real-world scenarios and activities that are application based. Move beyond memorization and bring lessons taught in the classroom to life. Go shopping and have your child evaluate sale prices to identify the best deal. Ask your child to calculate the tip at a restaurant. Visit a farmers' market with a set budget and ask your child to select fruits and vegetables to make as many meals as possible.
  4. Tie learning to specific careers. If your child isn't a strong writer but loves science, visit a local museum and have her write a report and develop a digital presentation based on an exhibit she visited.
  5. Visit the library. Under Common Core, students are required to conduct in-depth research from multiple sources and then discuss their findings with peers. Families can do similar activities on their own for an hour or two by visiting a community library.
  6. Join the Pinterest community. This popular social media site has many at-home Common Core activity suggestions. New content is pinned to the site every day by teachers, parents and curriculum developers. These exercises can help kids have fun while preparing for the more rigorous Common Core math standards, which require students to be prepared for Algebra I by eighth grade.
  7. Check out specific apps. Check out Common Core apps available on tablets or smartphones to help kids engage with technology and simplify homework time for parents.

Common Core State Standards place an increased emphasis on assignments that require students to move beyond rote memorization to understand how to problem-solve and connect presented problems to real-world scenarios.

"Similar to higher education, K-12 schools are strengthening the connection between education and career interests in curriculum and instruction," said Norris.

For more information about University of Phoenix® College of Education degree programs, visit

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix between Oct. 7 and Oct. 21, 2013. Respondents included 1,005 U.S. residents employed full-time as teachers in grades K-12 who have a college education or more. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Tanya Burden at

About University of Phoenix College of Education

University of Phoenix® College of Education has been educating teachers and school administrators for more than 30 years. The College of Education provides associate, bachelor's, and master's degree programs for individuals who want to become teachers or current educators and administrators seeking advanced degrees to strengthen their professional knowledge. With education programs available throughout most of the U.S., the College of Education has a distinct grasp of the national education picture and priorities for teacher preparation. Faculty members on average bring more than 17 years of professional experience to the classroom. For more information, visit


University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit

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