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Assessment: Teaching Standards

What does it mean that there are new teaching standards?

The Kentucky Core Academic Standards provide a new system to measure and evaluate student learning. Kentucky was the first state to adopt and implement this national initiative. New academic standards in language arts and math are being implemented this year.

Teachers in Scott County converted the Kentucky Core Academic Standards for math and language arts into very specific learning targets for students in their classrooms. Educators in our district spent the last year deconstructing the standards, or breaking them down into workable steps. Each grade level builds on the expectations of the grade before. Teachers have a clear picture of what students must know at the end of the year to successfully transition to the next grade level.

The Kentucky Core Academic Standards provide a clear set of expectations about what a student should know. Standards focus on concepts most critical for students to master, as evidenced by research and national and international benchmarks. The Kentucky Department of Education worked with other states to identify expectations for student learning. Part of this research compared what we teach students in American schools to successful counterparts throughout the world. Representatives from colleges and universities were a part of this discussion to set perimeters on what an entry-level college student must know. The revised academic standards set forth by the education reform of Senate Bill 1 ensures high school graduates have the knowledge and skills needed to be successful and competitive.

The new academic standards start with the end in mind to outline what is essential for students to know at every step, or grade, in the learning process. Starting in kindergarten and building on learning each year as they progress toward graduation, students gain skills necessary to meet the goal of college and career readiness. Previous standards were so broad teachers covered many topics quickly. There are now fewer standards which allow for deeper content knowledge at a pace that strengthens student mastery of important concepts. With increased rigor comes additional opportunities for student learning to excel.

The Kentucky Department of Education is now working to adopt standards for science and other content areas.