Student learning is most effective when it connects knowledge and skills to related topics and real-world applications. A person truly comprehends new information by being able to “connect the new to the known” and determining the information’s importance (Keene & Zimmerman, 1997). Additionally, deeper understanding is developed when individuals are able to better process information when they connect new information to other knowledge or experiences (Beane, 1996; Brooks & Brooks, 1993). This deeper understanding develops when students make connections across content areas (Blumenfeld & Krajcik, 2006).
While many cross-content linkages will be made within the local curriculum, content area standards should support those connections. For example, science standards must not require students to apply mathematics skills that are not yet required by the math standards for the same grade or level. Similarly, literacy skills are required across all content areas. The literacy learning progression should be considered when developing standards in other content areas. For example, science standards may require students to write about scientific investigations. To support this learning expectation, the English Language Arts standards should include organizational patterns that students apply when producing informational-type writing products. Understanding the connections across content areas and the progression of knowledge and skills within a content area will allow standards writers to write content area standards that are connected to other content areas.
Embedding the knowledge and skills within the Nebraska Career Readiness Standards is also an effective way to make connections between content area standards and authentic workplace skills. These connections and links embed opportunities for students to develop career readiness skills while learning the knowledge and skills in content area standards (Share & Rogers, 1997).
This information was taken from NDE’s Content Area Standards Reference Guide. The reference guide, including the references mentioned above, is located here.