Assignment: Education

Assignment: Education - The Big Three: Common Core

New standards for math and English language arts

Assignment: Education - The Big Three: Common Core

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Lots of learning is taking place in Melissa Scriver’s second-grade classroom at Northside Elementary School in La Crosse.

The math lesson is being taught using a new set of statewide standards called Common Core.

“Every time I sit down and think of a lesson or a learning or a teaching opportunity, my first instinct is, ‘is this going to achieve a standard?’” said Scriver.

Under the new set of standards implemented this school year, teachers at every grade level now have a specific list of learning targets their students have to meet to make sure all students meet the state's new goal of preparing students to be career- and college- ready.

“The Common Core standards are articulated in such a way that you have separate grade level standards for kindergarten through eighth grade, and then in ninth and 10th, and 11th and 12th, you have standards for those two (sets of) grade levels,” said Rob Tyvoll, supervisor of academic programs and staff development for the School District of La Crosse.

Before Common Core, the state of Wisconsin used the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards. Those standards were banded standards.

“Banded standards meant that we really only had three sets of standards,” said Tyvoll. “One was established for forth grade. One was for eighth grade. One was for 12th grade.”

With banded standards, educators were left to determine what students needed to accomplish in the school years leading up to forth, eighth and 12th grade.

“So, you knew what the eighth-graders were supposed to learn,” said Tyvoll. “But you had to figure out what the seventh-graders had to learn to get to eighth grade, what the sixth-graders had to learn to get to seventh grade, what the fifth-graders had to learn... because you didn't have those clear targets.”

With Common Core standards, this second-grade teacher knows exactly what the state expects her students to know by the time they leave her classroom.

“If I'm sitting down and I'm struggling with a lesson and I think to myself, 'What do I want my students to learn?' - we all have those moments - it's right there in front of me,” said Scriver.

The same is true for teachers across the country. Forty-five states have adopted Common Core standards.

“What that means for students is... if I'm a first-grader in Wisconsin and I travel to another Common Core state, I have hopes that the curriculum that's going to be presented to me in that state will be similar very much in design to what I see here,” said Tyvoll.

And if curriculum across the country is similar, the hope is all students could graduate from high school with the level of knowledge needed to be career- and college- ready.

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