New Standards, New Assessment: The Times They Are A-Changin’… Again
“Come gather round people wherever you roam…”
Bob Dylan’s lyrics are timeless. In the world of education, the times they are a-changing. We’ve learned to accept that. It’s keeping up with the multitude of changes that we struggle with!
Just when we are getting used to the idea that the WASL has morphed into the HSPE and the MSP, and we are being introduced to the concept of End of Course exams in math and science, and just when we are getting our academic core subjects re-aligned to the new and revised state standards…it’s time to prepare for the next change.
Last summer in the state of Washington, State Superintendent Randy Dorn signed approval for adopting a set of new standards: The Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These standards have been adopted in most of the states across the nation and will provide a much needed alignment of teaching, learning and assessment expectations. Teachers across the state, and across the nation, have started to dig into the interpretation and assimilation of these new standards. In Nine Mile Falls School District, we are focusing on the English Language Arts standards first. Our teachers are learning the language of the CCSS and are planning for changes to our reading instruction, highlighting a need for more non-fiction texts and texts of higher “complexity”.
This work is only a beginning and plans for translating and assimilating the other parts of the CCSS will be on-going and never-ending. This is a part of what we do now…in these times. For more information about the Common Core State Standards please go to: http://www.k12.wa.us/Corestandards/default.aspx
On the heels of the new standards comes a new way to assess the standards. According to state timelines, in the spring of 2015 we will be replacing parts of the HSPE/MSP/EOC assessment regime with the next generation of assessments that are aligned to the Common Core. These new online assessments are being developed by a regional Consortium of states and will include “more written responses from students, plus tasks that require them to engage in research, solve more complex problems and use technology.” For more information about the new assessment development, go to: http://www.governing.com/blogs/view/two-paths-toward-common-core-standards-assessments.html.
Where is Dylan when you need him? I’m looking for his new song, “Where Have All The Standards Gone?” Or maybe Lennon had it right… “Let It Be.” In either case, we’ll be working hard keeping up.