FAIRFIELD — Five multiplied by five is 25. But what does it mean?
With the implementation of Common Core State Standards, public school students will have to think about more than a simple math problem.
“How many ways can you make 25?” said Malcolm Butler, assistant superintendent of educational services for the Fairfield-Suisun School District. “To do that, (students) have to know what 25 means.”
Butler was explaining some of the new education requirements at a Tri-City NAACP meeting Saturday. California, along with 44 other states in recent years, adopted the Common Core State Standards, and school districts have gradually been implementing the plan with technology upgrades and new testing methods.
Butler said the old standards went “an inch deep and a mile wide,” while Common Core goes “a mile deep and an inch wide.”
Students will still learn the facts in all subjects, but they will have to take their education to a deeper level, he said.
“The whole dynamic is how tests become more rigorous, also known as ‘depth of knowledge,’ ” Butler said.
The Common Core concept known as depth of knowledge ranges from simple recall – such as a math calculation – to extended thinking – such as designing a mathematical model to inform and solve a practical situation. A “level 1″ lesson in reading might require the recall of a character in a story. On “level 4,” the lesson might seek a description of common themes found across texts in different cultures.
Writing standards for all grade levels correspond to College and Career Readiness anchor standards and encompass the text types of arguments, informative texts and narratives.
Students are being asked to cite evidence, said Diane Ferrucci, coordinator of elementary education. They need to know the difference between opinion and fact, she said.
“They also need to know how to listen and how to articulate their thoughts,” said Araceli Cantu-Tong, director of English Language Services.
Educators, parents and experts designed Common Core to help prepare students to be successful in college and the workplace, according to the school district’s website.
Butler said the uniform standards will prepare a student to work on any level – whether local, national or even international. With Common Core the curriculum is the same from California to New York.
“Most of us are on the same page,” he said.
Ferrucci said students will develop tools and strategies to support the concepts that are crucial to Common Core.
“When they leave our schools, they are prepared and can make a choice,” Ferrucci said.
Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.