Three things you should know
Why does the Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) District have new academic standards?
In 2009, the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation that mandated more rigorous standards and state tests. Two years later, Kentucky became the first of 46 states to adopt the Common Core State Standards in math and English/language arts.
These standards were adopted as the Kentucky Core Academic Standards, and Kentucky teachers began implementing them in the classroom during the last school year.
Why do students need new standards?
Students need better preparation for college, careers, and twenty-first-century economies. The new standards also will level the playing field for all students.
The new standards are more effective because they’re not about just memorizing facts or learning formulas. They’re about developing a deeper understanding of the concepts behind the facts and formulas.
How were the new standards developed?
They were written by educators and content experts brought together by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
The experts and educators built the new standards on the best old state standards as well as standards in top-performing countries. This creates a rigorous curriculum that requires students to use problem-solving skills and other skills that are essential as they prepare to enter college and the workforce.
The new standards were designed to set clear expectations for what students should be able to do at each grade level. In addition, the standards help ensure that what students are taught and how they are assessed are more consistent from district to district across the nation.
Old standards vs. new standards
Kentucky teachers are implementing challenging new standards at all grade levels. Here’s an example of a sixth-grade reading standard:
- Students will apply knowledge of synonyms or antonyms to comprehend a passage.
- Students will select, based on context, the appropriate meaning for a word that has multiple meanings.
- Students will use content (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph, a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
- Students will determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade-six reading and content, choosing from a range of strategies.
- Students will use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin afﬁxes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., audience, auditory, audible).
- Students will consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, and thesauruses, both print and digital) to ﬁnd the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.
- Students will verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).