Friday, October 15, 2010

Progress on Common Core State Standards

With the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to adopt the Common Core State Standards, there are now 38 states participating in this cooperative effort to standardize high expectations for all students in the United States. Assessment Technology, Inc. is responding to this coordinated effort by the states to establish clear, common guidelines as we work to develop the next generation of instructional and assessment technology.

Users of Galileo K-12 services are already familiar with the alignment of our instructional materials and assessments to the specific state standards that have been in use. Now, as we transition into the Common Core State Standards, we are drawing upon the resources from each state that helped inform the development of the Common Core State Standards while also expanding and innovating to address the greater breadth and specificity in the new standards.

To provide an example, in third grade language arts, states where Galileo K-12 is used had as few as 16 and as many as 68 standards, sometimes incorporating writing as part of the standards, and in other states having separate standards for writing. In the Common Core State Standards, third grade English/Language Arts has 92 standards for instruction and assessment. We all know that third-graders aren't being expected to learn an additional 50% more than their predecessors. The Common Core State Standards are instead providing a greater degree of specificity in identifying the skills and knowledge that a student in the third grade is supposed to master to match the progress expected of all third graders in the Common Core State Standards.

Each state adopting the Common Core State Standards will develop crosswalk materials that align its existing high-stakes assessment items and prior standards to the new standards. ATI is already engaged in that process, drawing from our nationwide experience to incorporate the proven materials in our item and activity banks in specific alignment to the Common Core State Standards expectations. These items and activities will then be available to teachers to use in identifying initial student performance on the new standards and then evaluating student needs for instruction on standards that may be different or more detailed than was present in the previous version of state standards. This is where our extensive content from multiple states will prove valuable, having a ready resource for assessment and instruction in these newly emphasized capabilities.

We are looking forward to working with all of our client districts as this new era of educational cooperation and heightened expectations of student success unfolds.