Carmel Unified School District, along with all public school districts in California, is adopting the new Common Core State Standards and testing methodology to replace the current Standardized Testing and Reporting assessment.
One major change for students in California, and only 23 other states, is the adoption of recently created assessments created by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which will be fully implemented in the 2014-15 school year. The STAR assessment will be eliminated after the 2013-14 school year.
An email from CUSD to parents stated, “These assessments will be given in math and [English
Language Arts], grades 3-8, and in 11th grade.” Also, the tests are designed to be taken on computers, and results will be published about two weeks after the test is administered.
So far, the standards and assessments will mostly affect English and math departments, as the science and social studies curriculums are still being created.
As the name implies, these “common” standards are being implemented in 45 other states across the country, which will make it easier to compare students from different states.
The three- year transition to these standards began last year. 2011-12 was a year of awareness, 2012-13 is a transition year, and 2013-14 will be the official implementation.
CHS teachers have started adapting to these standards and are looking forward to the new changes.
“As a math department,” math chair Dawn Hatch says, “we are excited about the new core standards, and feel that once we have shifted completely we will have better thinking students who are, in turn, better able to adapt to any type of question or situation.”
Hatch notes that the new standards have less emphasis on individual content and more on higher-level thinking and the ability to have deeper understanding of subjects.
Whitney Grummon, the English department chair, thinks that the standards are completely reasonable for students and are more straightforward than the current ones.
“They make perfect sense to me,” Grummon says. “I am not at all worried, and I am looking forward to a more streamlined version.”
A main change in the English curriculum is the emphasis on non-fiction literature, and Grummon says she is slowly taking some fiction works out of her classes. In addition, persuasive writing will be stressed.
There are tasks that still need to be completed before the standards set in; for example, all of the district writing rubrics will have to be rewritten to be in accordance with the standards.