Schools prepare as Common Core Assessment begins this year

BROOKLAND, AR (KAIT) - The Common Core Assessment begins this year.

The state adopted these new learning standards to better prepare students for college and beyond.

The Common Core State Standards affect mathematics the most. Teachers now require their students to not only know basic math skills, but to apply them with multiple strategies.

Brookland Schools curriculum director Dr. Nicole Covey said Common Core's goals are to strike up conversations and creativity in the classroom.

"One way isn't the only way," Covey said.

Dr. Covey said Brookland schools still teach basic math skills, but encourage students to use multiple strategies to find the same answer.

"Having that creativity and flexibility is ideal for meeting unique, individual needs of every student in the classroom," Covey said. "Not just the paper, pencil. There's nothing wrong with using objects in order to find a solution."

But each student still has a choice between the two.

"If you need them, go get them. If you don't need them, use paper, pencil if that works for you," Covey said. "Every student gets what they need to be the best they can be, and that's not gonna be the same for every child."

Dr. Covey said the next step is for students to learn from each other.

"Conversations are the best ways sometimes that people learn," Covey said. "Now, what teachers are trying to do is give students the opportunity to have those important discussions, 'Why is that the correct answer, why is it not the correct answer, where did we go wrong and how do we fix this?'"

Dr. Covey said students are not complaining.

"I know, just from talking to students, they're having a lot more fun in math class. And I'm not sure that's something that a lot of students would be willing to say that, 'I'm having fun in math,'" Covey said.

Dr. Covey admits test scores will fall in March when students take the first-ever Common Core Assessment.

"Across the state, there will be an implementation dip just for the fact of it's different, it's new," Covey said.

However, Dr. Covey said once they work out the kinks, students will be better off in the future.

"The career and industry sectors have asked for this for quite some time," Covey said. "It will be a more productive career group and college ready group once they've had all of those years under Common Core."

Until then, Dr. Covey asks for patience.

"There's still a lot of unanswered questions. We're gonna do our very best and get everybody prepared. I don't foresee any major issues," Covey said.

Common Core is also changing literacy in schools. Dr. Covey said middle schools will implement 50 percent literary and 50 percent informational texts in the classrooms now, and high schools will implement 30 percent literary and 70 percent informational.

"This gets students ready for college and their careers," Covey said. "Because, in your career, you're not gonna be reading for fun. You're going to be reading to learn."

Schools have been implementing these standards into their curriculum since the Arkansas State Board of Education adopted Common Core in 2010.

To learn more about Common Core State Standards, visit the Common Core website. You can also visit the following for more information:

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