NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 10, 2013

Officials probe progress with state standards

NEWBURYPORT — Assistant Superintendent Angela Bik and Nock Middle School faculty members Emily Russin and Liz Kinzly addressed the School Committee’s questions and concerns Monday about the Common Core state standards, and the ways in which they will be — and are being — implemented.

The federally supported Common Core was adopted in the state three years ago.

The stated mission of Common Core is to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.”

Advocates of Common Core say they are designed to be relevant to the real world and are meant to reflect the knowledge and skills needed for future success.

Bik told committee members that fully integrating into this new system will be a gradual transition and not an overnight undertaking.

“It will be a multi-year process, but the ultimate goal is to higher our expectations and build stronger learning and thinking in our students.” she said. “The objective is to have students reach their highest potential.”

She provided examples of grade-level standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, science and technical subjects, as well as grade-level standards for mathematics.

Under CCSS, by fourth grade ability-level students should be able to “explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historic, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why based on specific information in the text.” By seventh grade, students are expected to be able to “analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text.”

Sixth-graders should know learning ratios and proportional relationships by creating ratio tables and corresponding graphs, which will prepare them for algebra and geometry.

Committee vice chairman Cheryl Sweeney said the new standards posed a major adjustment for teachers who now have added responsibilities — especially with the increased focus on literacy.

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