West Hartford School District
Dec. 21, 2011
School officials are "enthusiastic about the upcoming changes. Even though implementation of the Common Core State Standards requires revamping many parts of the district’s curriculum, they believe it will more actively engage both the teachers and the students."
What Not How
- “The standards don’t tell us how to teach, they teach us what to teach.”
- “What we provide in curriculum design work is a framework. There’s plenty of room for teacher choice; it’s benchmarks and guideposts.”
- "this is a standards-based movement and the assessments are going to be built behind it. The teachers should find this very liberating. They’ve really been excited.”
ELA and Literacy
- Greater emphasis on reading not just in English class, but also in every other discipline including science, social studies, and technology education.
- The reading of non-fiction will figure prominently, as will persuasive writing.
- New mathematics standards will emphasize “processes and proficiencies.”
- Progression through the standards for all disciplines will begin in kindergarten, and build throughout each grade level.
- The CMT and CAPT will be phased out once new assessments are implemented. The new assessments are scheduled to begin in 2014-2015 and will be given to students in grades 3-8 and 11. The class of 2016 (today’s 8th graders) will be the last to take the CAPT test their sophomore year, and will take the new assessments as juniors.
- Testing will take place over a 12-week period during the latter part of the school year, and will be computer-based. Students will not be tested all at the same time, and the actual test will differ based on the student’s performance, with questions becoming increasingly difficult as the student progresses. Results will be available in just two weeks, allowing teachers to focus on areas where the students may need assistance.
- “It’s going to be good for kids; they’re going to have to work differently and harder,” Howley said.
- “The kids will feel more excited. They’ll be contributing more and engaged with the content of what they are learning,” said Vicinus.