Friday, April 17, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Districts prep for new education standards

assessments test, 3/21/13

Marc Monachello, left, the technology coordinator with the Dixon Unified School District, learns about the new Smarter Balanced testing program from Jim Wasielewski, the technology coordinator with the Vacaville Unified School district recently at Hemlock Elementary School. Students at the school are pilot testing part of the Smarter Balanced assessment test. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | March 31, 2013 |

FAIRFIELD — Classroom learning guidelines in California are getting a “rigorous” revamp in a bid to align educational standards with 44 other states, something many local educators describe as positive.

The Common Core State Standards, which guide teachers in math and English language arts, were adopted by California in 2010. The core standards, which are a voluntary adoption, are shared goals and expectations across the participating states concerning knowledge and skills children need at each grade level.

They are expected to be fully implemented, which includes a new assessment test to replace the Standardized Testing and Reporting assessment, by the 2014-15 school year. The new test is called Smarter Balanced, or SBAC, named after the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the state-led group that’s developing the assessment.

California is a governing state within the consortium.

The start date coincides with the end of the No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress goals that require all students to be on the “proficient” level by the end of the 2013-14 school year.

By 2014-15, all accountability measures will be tied to the Smarter Balanced assessments, said Mark Frazier, Vacaville School District’s chief academic officer.

The primary reason for the change is to better prepare children for success in college and careers in a global setting, said Sandy Jessop, director of district and school support for the Solano County Office of Education.

Curriculum changes include such things as an emphasis on nonfiction reading and grade-level shifts concerning various math subjects such as Algebra I, which under the new standards will be taught beginning in the eighth grade.

With the changes come growing pains. Current textbooks aren’t aligned with the new standards. Frazier said Vacaville spent more than $1 million for a new English language arts program three years ago for kindergarten through sixth grade. Curriculum to match the new standards isn’t developed yet and “there is no way (districts) can go out and buy brand new curriculum,” he said.

“We’ll have to adapt,” he said.

One of the changes is learning fractions in third grade instead of second grade, but the second-grade textbooks house the fraction lessons.

“We’ll have to be flexible,” he said.

The test is computer-based instead of paper and pencil. Local districts wonder about the logistics of testing an entire school using one computer lab with a varying number of computers.

“That’s going to be a big problem,” Frazier said.

Rollout has already begun. Some Solano County schools are taking part in Smarter Balanced pilot testing and some teachers are beginning to think about how they’re going to implement the new standards into their classroom.

“This is the first wave and change in the teaching profession (I’ve experienced),” said Heidi Studer, a teacher at Hemlock Elementary School in Vacaville, who has been teaching for nine years.

Her sixth-grade class recently took part in the pilot testing. She said she is already contemplating the changes she’s going to need to make in her teaching to reflect the new standards and assessment test.

“Teachers are going to have to change their practices,” she said.

The implementation of Common Core concepts gives rise to a higher level of thinking, she said.

“Kids are going to need to express themselves more . . . as opposed to choosing an answer,” she said.

The standards are designed to give children deeper critical-thinking concepts that relate classroom teachings to the real world. They encompass a wide variety of skills aside from critical thinking, such as problem-solving, communication, collaboration and writing. The new assessment test, which involves a lot more writing, creative thinking and problem-solving, will reflect the new standards.

“The Smart Balanced assessments give students an opportunity to express their levels of problem-solving, creativity and critical thinking,” Jessop said.

Frazier said the new standards are “the same key standards, but the rigor has changed.”

“You can trace progress,” he said. “The old standards were interspersed, not cohesive. It was like each grade level had a group of people working on the standards and didn’t talk to each other. Things just got plunked in.”

Not everyone is happy with the new standards. Adoption has created conversation for bloggers and columnists and spawned groups such as Utahns Against Common Core. Closer to home is the group Californians United Against Common Core. Its website calls the new program a “one size fits all” education, citing lower standards and the costs behind the change.

Only four states have not fully adopted the new standards: Alaska, Texas, Nebraska and Virginia. Minnesota adopted the standards in English language arts, but not in math.

“We believe that the standards we developed in Minnesota offer a more rigorous standard and are certified college- and career-ready by both our Minnesota State College system and the University of Minnesota,” said Charlene Briner, director of communication for the Minnesota Department of Education.

The states that adopted the standards had two choices for yearly assessments: Smarter Balanced or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

As the rollout continues, more districts will participate in pilot testing of the Smarter Balanced assessment test throughout May.

Cambridge and Scandia elementary schools are participating in the Travis School District, said Jim Bryan, the assistant superintendent for education services. In the Fairfield-Suisun School District, the Matt Garcia Learning Center already did some pilot testing. More testing will be done at David Weir, Cordelia Hills, Cleo Gordon, Laurel Creek and Nelda Mundy elementary schools, plus Rodriguez High School, said Sheila McCabe, the district’s director of secondary education.

“It’s a good step,” Frazier said. “They want to get our students to a different level of rigor.”

Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.

Common Core

For more information, check the websites for local school districts or go to:

  • www.corestandards.org
  • www.smarterbalanced.org
  • www.cde.ca.gov
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Amy DutschMarch 31, 2013 - 3:48 pm

    Commom core standards are the worst thing to happen to education in a LONG time. We are dumbing down our children in some areas (math) and pushing them too hard in others (ELA). Textbooks shouldn't be the same level as literature. And let's not forget the data tracking, and WHERE these standards came from. A private foundation should not be funding PUBLIC education!! Get the facts!! Stop Common CORE!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Show features 3 men, 21 guitar strings, Bach

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Scores attend workshop on Fairfield Train Station

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 20 Comments | Gallery

Director brings light, humor to ‘Picnic’

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
State moves to install barrier on Delta channel

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Young inventors test catapult-making skills

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Military brats made memories

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
 
Women in Action to host bunco bash

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Il Fiorello all-in for chocolate favorites

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B3

 
Kroc Center hosts 1st science fair

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Judge provides update on status of Solano courts

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4 | Gallery

County to host warehouse sale of surplus items

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Total Home, Garden and Outdoors Show starts

By Ian Thompson | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Weather for Friday, April 17, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

Fairfield police log: April 15, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: April 15, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Office worker arrested for posing as dentist

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Standardized tests to be taken on computers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

National Guardsmen charged with selling arms

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Drought is apparent cause for death of hundreds of elk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Auction house cancels internment camp art auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

WikiLeaks creates online archive of hacked Sony documents

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
 
Homeland chief: Gyrocopter came in ‘under the radar’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Amid chaos, Al-Qaida consolidates hold of Yemen province

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Thousands flee as IS group advances on Iraq’s Ramadi

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Putin confident on economy, offers to mend ties with West

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Coast Guard makes seizure of 14 tons of cocaine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Living

Today in history: Friday, April 17, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 17, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: April 17, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
My son’s new girlfriend is insisting we sever ties with his former flame

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview April 17-23, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
New ‘Star Wars’ teaser, cast information revealed at event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Kim Richards of ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Sarah Jessica Parker returns to HBO with comedy ‘Divorce’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment Calendar: April 17, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Ari Millen multiplies as male clones on ‘Orphan Black’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Prep girls soccer: Breeden lifts Vanden to 1-1 tie with Benicia

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B7

 
Prep softball: Vikings sail to 12-1 win over Falcons

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B7

Rodriguez earns 9-6 badminton win over Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B7

 
More changes likely for Kings after another losing season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Warriors? Cavs? Spurs again? No clear NBA Finals favorite

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Phelps wins 100 butterfly at 1st meet in 8 months

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

JC baseball: Falcons lose battle for first to Mariners

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B7

 
Middle School soccer: Green Valley boys, girls sweep PSA

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B7

Prep swimming: Indians swim well, get swept by Wildcats

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B7

 
Prep boys golf: Mustangs fall to Crushers in MEL play

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B7

 
NBA players to be tested for HGH starting next season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

NFL reinstates Adrian Peterson from suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Reports: Top prospect Kris Bryant headed to the Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Spieth struggles in 1st round after Masters win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
NBA sets attendance record with nearly 22 million fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Jewell Loyd taken first in WNBA draft by Seattle

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Giants rallies fall short in 7-6 loss to Dbacks in 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Coroner: Ex-NFL running back’s cellmate death ruled homicide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Thief steals sneakers from Boston Marathon bombing survivors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This date in sports history for Friday, April 17, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Signups for Friday, April 17, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

 
NFL reinstates Adrian Peterson from suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Woman who accused Winston of rape files lawsuit against him

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

 
Scion youth looks to sedan, hatchback to revive sales

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Obama signs overhaul of how Medicare pays doctors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

US home construction off to weak March start

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Apple digs in on green with China solar, US forest projects

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

VW recalls Chrysler-made minivans to fix ignition switches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Financial incentives OK’d for workplace wellness programs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Yahoo chooses to stay with Microsoft in updated search deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Nissan expands air bag recall after Louisiana injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Richard F. Coleman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Reginald M. Davis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9