This entry answers questions about the Common Core Standards, outlines the changes we are beginning to see in Connecticut Schools and what you can expect to see in future.
The information is presented by Jenny Tropia, Coordinator for the Derby Early Childhood Council and former teacher and includes tips from Jenny Ames, Kindergarten Teacher at Bradley School, Derby on how to help your child adapt to these changes.
What are the Common Core State Standards?
They are new set of learning standards and goals that your child is expected to know by the end of each grade. All children in K-Grade 12 will be working towards these in English Language Arts and Mathematics.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities says that the new standards "improve the quality of K–12 education and to better prepare students for college and career. They also claim the new standards are evidence-based, realistic, and practical."
According to The National PTA website, more than 45 states have adopted these standards. Which means that teachers and policy makers can support each other nationally as they share ideas for best practice.
Will there be changes to what or how my child learns?
Yes. The curriculum is designed to be challenging. These changes are outlined by engageNY.
In English Language Arts children will now:
• Read as much non-fiction as fiction
• Learn about the world by reading
• Read more challenging material closely
• Discuss reading using evidence
• Write non-fiction using evidence
• Increase academic vocabulary
In Math children will be expected to:
• Focus: learn more about fewer, key topics
• Build skills within and across grades
• Develop speed and accuracy
• Really know it, Really do it
• Use it in the real world
• Think fast AND solve problems
For more details on these changes and what they mean in the classroom and for the materials your children will be bringing home please click here:
Will my child be tested?
Yes. Starting in Grade 3 children will take tests in the last 12 weeks of school to assess their learning during the year.
According to the CT State Department of Education, "by the 2014 – 2015 school year, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) will develop a system of assessments for English language arts/literacy and mathematics for Grades 3-8 and 11 aligned to Common Core State Standards. They will replace the Connecticut Mastery Tests. Tests will be taken online.
The assessment system will include what is described as a "computer adaptive assessment" administered during the last 12 weeks of the school year. This assessment can be used to describe student achievement and growth of student learning as part of program evaluation and school, district, and state accountability systems.
The SBAC website states that based on student responses, the computer program adjusts the difficulty of questions throughout the assessment. For example, a student who answers a question correctly will receive a more challenging item, while an incorrect answer generates an easier question. By adapting to the student as the assessment is taking place, these assessments present an individually tailored set of questions to each student and can quickly identify which skills students have mastered.
How can I help my child at home?
The National PTA website has prepared guides for each grade level to help parents understand what their children will be learning each year and how to support them.
General ways to help ensure success for your child are outlined below:
• Build a strong relationship with your child's teacher. Check in with them often on your child's progress.
• Sit with your child a few times a week to see what they are doing for their homework. For younger children ensure you sit with them every time and offer support but don't do it for them!
• Provide a quite place each day for your child to work.
Other suggestions to help your child at home come from Jenny Ames, Kindergarten teacher at Bradley School, Derby:
Examples: Why did the author use the word transform in the book about butterflies? Why was Max angry in the story Where the Wild Things Are?
· Read books 2-3 times for deeper meaning.
· Distinguish between fiction and nonfiction books.
· Take your child to the library and let them select books that are of interest to them.
For more details on what your child will be learning and how to help them please click on the link and select the grade level you want.
Studies show that parental support and involvement makes a difference in how successful a child is in school. So do not hesitate to contact your child's teacher for more information on the Common Core or any of the work your child is bringing home.