Today the Thomas B. Fordham Institute , Ohio Grantmakers Forum, and Achieve hosted an event called “Embracing the Common Core: Helping Students Thrive.” Speakers at the event talked about how Ohio will be on board with new national standards developed by the National Governor’s Association. Teachers will mainly focus on preparing students for success in three important subjects: literature, English, and math.
Stan Heffner, State Superintendent of Public Instruction told the group that there was a survey that students completed, and 40-45 % said that they were not prepared for college. Do you feel that this number is too high? When I was in college classes for the first time, I felt unprepared even though I took college preparation classes in high school. The goal of the Common Core is for all students to graduate from high school ready for college and career.
Because the Common Core is benchmarked against international standards that are more rigorous than Ohio’s current standards, several speakers said that they expect Ohio test scores to plummet initially. With the higher standards, it will be interesting to see how school districts handle and communicate the expected drop in scores. Will schools be able to buckle down and teach the majority of students what they need to know in the “real world”?
There is going to be a lot of work that goes along with aligning teaching to the new standards. A good amount of school districts are already on board with the core curriculum, but what about those that are just waiting to “teach the test”? One of the speakers made a great point about how teachers will tell students that they need to know information because it is on the test. Has anyone else heard that before?
I had the experience of being in the Class of 2007, which was the first class that had to take the OGT (Ohio Graduation Test) to graduate. It was obvious that teachers felt the need to take time just to give us practice questions because this was the real deal. I learned how to become a great test-taker, but I also learned how to forget about the material once the test was over.
The purpose of this new test for students is not to help them become better test-takers, but to help them thrive in adulthood. Michael Cohen, president of Achieve, recommends that districts begin working towards the common core now instead of waiting for the test to come out because this will be a tough transition.
Be sure to check out more information about the event. Check out School Choice Ohio’s tweets on the event as well, and tell us what you think. How do you feel about higher standards? About a partially national curriculum?