In an effort to align academic standards in public schools — and give students throughout the United States a set of guidelines to master at each grade level — educators throughout America are working on a program called Common Core.
Phil Alfano, superintendent of Patterson Joint Unified Schools, said 45 of the 50 states are on board with the new program which is set to begin with the 2014-15 school year.
“Common Core is a plan to have common curriculum standards cross the country,” Alfano said Monday, Oct. 22. “Individual states can add more to it — it’s kind of a minimum baseline.”
Meanwhile, Common Core assessment tests will replace the California Standardized Testing and Reporting annual tests given to students each year and part of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation that mandated all students in the county must achieve proficiency by the 2013-2014 school year.
Local principals will take part in a five-week training offered by the Stanislaus County Board of Education at a yet- to-be-determined time.
“My sense is eventually where this is heading is that we will have a national assessment system that will be based on common national standards in core subjects areas in English and math for all grade levels,” Alfano said. “They’re just in the process of unwrapping the package. There will be a lot more to come on this in the next two years and it’s still gong to be a lot of work.”
Though there is plenty of work to be done on Common Core in the next couple of years, Alfano said California has an edge.
“In terms of California, our standards are already closely aligned to the Common Core,” he said.
Alfano explained the biggest difference is assessment system itself that requires a higher level of thinking skills and aims to make sure the student understands the concept of the problem, as well as how to arrive at the answer.
Common Core is still being developed nationally and should begin the transition in 2013-2014 with implementation in place in the 2014-2015 school year.
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