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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • English language arts and mathematics standards Standards create new learning opportunities

  • In October 2010, the Kansas State Department of Education voluntarily adopted a new set of English language arts and mathematics education standards known as the Common Core State Standards. The standards were written by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officer...
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  • In October 2010, the Kansas State Department of Education voluntarily adopted a new set of English language arts and mathematics education standards known as the Common Core State Standards. The standards were written by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers with input from teachers, parents, community members, business leaders, education experts, and legislators, according to the authors of the standards and the Kansas State Department of Education.
    The Kansas Department of Education added a number of its own standards, which equal 15 percent of the total Common Core standards for English language arts and mathematics. The combined set of standards is referred to as the Kansas College and Career Readiness Standards.
    The purpose of the education standards initiative is to ensure that when students graduate from high school they have the knowledge and skills that are necessary in order to succeed at post-secondary institutions and in the workplace.
    The common core standards were created in order to provide a consistent set of expectations for student progress from kindergarten through twelfth grade and to provide parents and teachers with a clear understanding of what students will learn, according to the Kansas Common Core State Standards 2011-2012 Fact Sheet. The aim of the Common Core State Standards is to ensure that the quality of education and training that students receive does not vary from state-to-state, school-to-school, or teacher-to-teacher.
    Unified School District 443 of Dodge City has been in the process of implementing the standards for the past two-years. The district implemented the standards for kindergartners, first-graders and second-graders and their teachers beginning in 2011, according to Judy Beedles-Miller, the assistant superintendent for elementary education for USD 443. Third-, fourth-, and fifth- grade students have been subject to the standards since 2012. The English language arts standards are in the second year of implementation for students in grades six through twelve.
    The English language arts and mathematics standards will reach full-implementation for all of the district’s students and teachers on the first day of the 2013 to 2014 school year, according to Mischel Miller, the assistant superintendent for secondary education for USD 443.
    The Learning Process
    The advent of the internet and other advances in technology has made accessing information quicker and easier, which has and will continue to increase the ways in which teachers can engage students. “The availability of resources is huge,” Beedles-Miller said.
    Teachers will be given more freedom to determine the best way in which to present material to their students. The standards tell teachers “what we want to teach kids, not how” to teach, Miller explained.
    When the standards are fully implemented, the way that students are introduced to new information will change. “There will be less rote memorization;” Miller said, “They will learn by doing.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Students will learn by solving problems in collaboration with their peers and through reflection. “They will apply real-world solutions to real-world problems,” Beedles-Miller said
    Teachers will guide the students rather than dictate how the students should approach a given task, Beedles-Miller and Miller said.
    “There will be a community of learners rather than just a classroom of students,” Miller said.
    New technologies and the nuanced approaches to teaching and learning will allow students access to a wider-range of educational content and allow them to interact more with their peers. Students will also have more opportunities to communicate with students in other states and in other countries.
    The learning process will become more hands-on, more interactive, and it will require more participation from students, Beedles-Miller and Miller said.
    “There is a buffet of learning opportunities that kids have now that we did not have when we were growing up,” Beedles-Miller said, paraphrasing the words of a colleague. “The floodgates of information are open.”
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