As my school’s building RtI (Response to Intervention–an entire series of posts in and of itself) representative, I’ve kind of been in charge of planning, researching, implementing, organizing, and gathering ideas for changing our school system over the next 3+ years. It was through this experience that I became familiar with the common core standards.
Here are the new common core ELA standards that the state of Ohio is set to adopt in the year 2013.
The “strand” areas in the new standards are: Reading–Literature, Reading–Informational Texts, Writing, Listening and Speaking, and Language.
Here are the current Ohio ELA Standards that are in use.
The “strand” areas in the current standards are: Acquisition of Vocabulary, Reading Processes: Concepts of Print, Comprenension Strategies and Self-Monitoring Strategies, Reading Applications: Informational, Technical, and Persuasive Texts, Reading Applications: Literary Texts, Writing Processes, Writing Applications, Writing Conventions, Research, Communication: Oral and Visual (THAT was a mouthful!)
There seem to be very few actual differences between the two sets of standards, which shows that Ohio schools have been on the right track–whoo hoo! Just looking at the strand titles themselves, one can see that the common core standards are a more streamlined version of the convoluted, almost-too-detailed current Ohio standards.
The New York Times dedicated this article to a look at the changes in 100 New York schools as they move toward using the common core standards, and it addresses some of the concerns that come about in terms of accountability and the “new” look of a changing classroom–though I must say, I haven’t met very many English teachers in modern times who still use the “book report” summary as a summative form of assessment over a novel The article touts the new core standards as an improvement to education through an increased use of critical thinking skills (something I have always tried to teach my students through the use of higher level thinking skills). Though not a novel concept, I think the streamlined approach to these new standards will allow teachers to look past the minutiae to the heart of the standard itself.
I’m interested in seeing how the new standards pan out in the future. Since beginning my career path, I’ve always been a believer in the need for some type of standard/benchmark to guide education. There needs to be some general commonality across the board for what students should be able to do at the end of a specified time. I’m certainly not advocating the nationalized curricula of certain other countries, but I do think students in Ohio should have the same academic expectations as students in New Mexico and vice versa.