Common Core Standards
How's do folks feel about the adoption of Common Core Standards? What are you doing to gear up for the implementation?
How do you think technology might support your efforts?
Well, I have printed off the set of Common Core Standards and clipped them to punch holes and put in a binder. Do you get the feeling that I am overwhelmed with new curriculum, new initiatives, more meetings, new ideas to implement for better test scores and improved learning? What I intend to do is to type a few of the standards, in easy-to-understand language, to post when doing specific lesson plans in the room. This way students see why we are learning and doing the specific lesson. I need simplistic for the resource students, and hope to begin with a few common ones in regard to language arts. We will concentrate on the CCS more the next school year, as directed by our SBOE, but if I do a little as groundwork this school year, I hope to find it easier to expand next year.
Technology? I will use the computer to type it to post. I can send it to print as a poster to our poster maker. These standards will align with the IEP goals we create for each student, and also will hopefully align with lesson plans we create. I am sure our admin will direct us further through their expectations of how they will be used in our room as well as with technology.
Even though this is yet another change, I am excited about the common core standards. The current core content that I follow is a mile wide and an inch deep. The new standards are some specific and concise.
To gear up for implementation we are hosting monthly content meetings, dissecting each standard, discussing the type of assessment that should be used for each standard, and creating "I CAN..." statements for the students to follow.
Does anyone know anything about the type of assessment that will be used at the end of the year. I have heard there will be multiple choice and open-ended (fill-in-the-blank, short answer, etc.) type questions...
I don't know, jsfowler. I am hearing our state is going to test three times a year for benchmarking.
Bananas...we test three times a year for benchmarking, but it is not the state test that we use. We use a three-four minute long screener test and the MAP test on the computer which is usually about 40-60 minutes long.
I too am excited about the common core standards, but a little nervous. I like the idea of having a national expectation of students. I am a little worried that the textbook companies will become a set curriculum-everyone uses the same books. Then I can see the lesson and assessment going to everyone so that I am even more required to follow a set lesson each day!
As for the type of test. I really can't see them having too much writing, fill in the blank, due to having to grade this. My state doesn't even want to grade their writing tests!
From the 5th grade Common Core Standards:
Interpret the product (a/b) × q as a parts of a partition of q into b equal parts; equivalently, as the result of a sequence of operations a × q ÷ b. For example, use a visual fraction model to show (2/3) × 4 = 8/3, and create a story context for this equation. Do the same with (2/3) × (4/5) = 8/15. (In general, (a/b) × (c/d) = ac/bd.)
How do you like the above standard? Is it perfectly clear to you? This is typical of the Common Core Standards you seem to be excited about. Remember, this is a 5th grade standard. Few 5th grade teachers will even understand this standard much less teach it to 5th graders.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are very uncommon standards. They are uncommon in the sense that they are written in language that pays no attention to who they were written for. Standards are supposed to be user friendly and understandable to all stakeholders; students, parents, the public, and teachers to name a few. In fact, many teachers have been told to write the standard they are teaching on the board so it can help guide the students. How do you think the average 5th grader would respond to the above standard? I can tell you; they would freak out.
Many are recommending the adoption of these standards but I would bet you that many have never looked at them much less tried to read them for understanding. Of course these standards weren't looked at by the 48 governors who committed to consider adopting them either. They weren't looked at because they weren't even written at the time.
Randy Dorn, our Washington State superintendent of public instruction, hadn't read them when he provisionally adopted them this summer. Even if he had he wouldn't have understood them. Randy has been quoted as saying "I'm not a math guy." Believe me, it takes a serious math guy to understand the CCSS.
Of course we can't blame Randy, the Washington State legislature passed SB6696 in March authorizing Dorn to provisionally adopt the CCSS and they weren't written then either. This is starting to sound like a familiar theme we have been hearing lately; "We need to pass the bill so we can see what is in it."
Why did all these people want to adopt the CCSS sight unseen? Because they were trying to get the Race to the Top money from the federal government. RttT, as it is called required states to adopt the CCSS sight unseen. (Un)fortunately, Washington state wasn’t one of the winners of the RttT money. If we had been selected we could have gotten around 250 million dollars from the feds. 100 million of that would go to the state and 150 million would be distributed to the schools. We have about a million students, so that amounts to about $150 per student.
It costs about $9500 a year per student to educate a child in Washington. So for about $150 more per student we are supposed to hand over control of our entire school system to someone in Washington DC. Without even reading or evaluating what we would be getting for our $150. Does this make any sense? Absolutely none!
Handing over control of your state education system would be a huge mistake. And make no mistake about it, if you adopt national standards in math and English (History soon to follow) you will be handing control over your state system to whoever controls those standards and the assessments that will follow. The thing that makes this even weirder is no one seems to know who that someone really is.
The CCSS were created behind closed doors with a great amount of secrecy. Now that they are outed, it isn’t clear who will have control over them. Yet, while everyone else is worried about the economy and the recent elections, states are moving forward at giving control of their state education system to….who knows?
Don’t worry too much, there is still time. This takeover can still be stopped. Just start telling all of your friends to get ready to bombard your representatives with messages telling them you don’t want unknowns in Washington DC to run your states’ education system. After the recent election, I don’t think it will be that hard to get their attention.
Our district has put together a leadership network consisting of a language arts/reading person, a math person, and an administrator from each school. We meet as a district team nce a month, and then the math/reading people go to regional meetings once a month.
I'll admit to being a little uncomfortable in a leadership role of this capacity, but I'm adjusting. It's a three-year committment.
The issue we're having is that we're trying to get into the new standards, yet we're being held accountable to the old standards for this year. I feel like I'm doing double work.
I do like the new standards. They're more difficult than our current state standards. I had one of my classes work on identical standards from state and common core. Those scoring proficient on state standards dropped a level on common core.
Mixed about Common Core Standards
The few posts here already reflect the range of feelings surrounding the standards... From skepticism, frustration, resentment, and fear to relief, excitement, and inspiration.
As many people involved in the process have already noted, some states don't like the standards because they are considerably more difficult than what states already have. Other states don't like them because they are considered too low. But, that is exactly why (in my opinion) we need COMMON standards. We should expect a 4th grader, 8th grader, and high school graduate in East Los Angeles and New York City to have the same educational opportunity and challenges as their counterpart in Orlando or New Orleans.
This will mean many changes in how we prepare teachers to teach to the skills as well as the materials we create for instruction. It's my guess that things will get much WORSE in our schools before they get better. But, isn't this going to be a welcome change for the betterment of our schools, our children, and our economy? Don't we want to challenge kids to learn really hard stuff so they are prepared for what the world will be rather than just getting by on the minimum facts?
Setting politics and agendas aside... Let's consider what the opportunities and challenges are to the Common Core Standards.... I did pose the question "how do you feel about the standards?" Fair enough to get a range of honest answers... That said, I'll reiterate the real interest I have and ask "how are you gearing up for implementation?"
You're meeting in teams to plan. You are considering how to account for what is current as well as what is to come. You're educating yourselves and others. Sounds GREAT! I've seen and heard many folks are creating crosswalks that match what current standards are to the CCS... Again, sounds good to me.
What else? If you could wave a magic wand to have publishers and folks who create materials help you, (other than providing free stuff) what would you wish for?
More on Common Core
As far as gearing up for the CCSS I have done an in depth study of the high school standards. I wrote a complex crosswalk between our state standards and the Common Core which was used by my state as a comparison with their efforts. There is nothing new in CCSS with the exception of an emphasis on rigid translation geometry which I see as a weakness not a strength. Our state standards were rated higher than the CCSS but that really isn't that significant.
Teachers who know the kind of math that students need for college and beyond teach that math. There is no evidence that students in states with higher standards perform higher than the students in states with lower standards. That's because there is no evidence that standards have anything to do with achievement. After all, the standards were created by looking at what we already teach.
Some states have shown great gains on their state tests. However, when they are measured by other outside measures no gains were shown. Massachusetts is a good example. They have very high standards, they made large gains on their state exams, but their college remediation rates did not change. Of course, teachers understand that when you teach to the test you will see gains on that test. However, that doesn't mean the students have actually gained.
The biggest weakness with the core standards is that they are not user friendly and will not be understood in depth by many k-8 teachers. This is in contrast with the standards of many nations that are far ahead of us who have very simplistic standards.
When people say the CCSS are clear and concise I'm wondering if they have actually looked at them. They are anything but clear and concise when you compare them to the standards of California, Indiana, or Washington. I don't see these standards as adding anything positive to our education equation. They are simply the latest fad that has burst on the scene with much fanfare and will fade away in far less time than you would think.
Fortunately, none of these things have anything to do with what I do. I love my job and I never get tired of removing the puzzled look from the eyes of my students. I see my job as trying to get every student to maximize their own potential.
Every year I am sending students on to be engineers, doctors, computer programmers, and electricians, plumbers and construction workers. I have extensive experience in using mathematics in both the real world and the academic world. As long as I am teaching, I will do everything I can to make sure students are learning the kind of math that they will need no matter which direction they choose to go.
I have read the CCSS...several times. Let me clarify, I have read the CCSS for language arts several times.
Originally Posted by BobDean
It seems you teach math. I have heard SEVERAL math teachers complain about the new standards.
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