It’s a new school year, and new standards present a challenge to students and parents.
In Florida, new state standards that are similar to Common Core are taking effect in fall for the first time in public K-12 schools. These standards are far more rigorous that those which have been in effect in the past.
The standards focus on critical thinking skills as well as analyzing knowledge, and teachers and administrators have familiarized themselves with them. However, the assessment tests that will be required are still an unknown factor.
“It’s going to shock parents,” said Santa Rosa County Schools Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick. “We started (implementing some of the new standards) last year, and I got some calls from moms and dads saying they couldn’t do the work and wondering how we can expect their child to do the work if they couldn’t.”
One of the biggest differences between the new Florida Standards and the Next Generation Standards followed last year is that the new standards are specific to a grade level. But they also are more demanding.
“As an overview, what parents will see from kindergarten through 12th grade is a more rigorous standard, but a standard that requires integration of knowledge,” Wyrosdick said. “A standard that requires a student to synthesize and amalgamate knowledge, not just know it.”
For example, in third-grade math, students will be taught to look for more than one formula to solve a problem. They also may be asked to give a written response to a math problem or to explain how they arrived at a solution.
“We really want the students to be able to talk about the math they’re using,” said Santa Rosa County teacher Valerie Seanislawczyk, who has been training other teachers on the new standards. “We ask them to look at the problem on their own to start with, and they can really do more than we think they can sometimes.”