State education standards to replace Common Core

Published 8:10 am Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tenneessee’s educational standards are once being revamped and local school officials said they are hopeful about the changes.
“Tennessee is no longer part of the Common Core,” secondary supervisor for Carter County Schools Danny McClain said.
“They have vetted their own standard, called Tennessee State Standards.”
While the state has not yet released all of the details, McClain told members of the county’s Education Committee more information should be available in the coming months.
“Nothing is set in stone yet until those standards are approved,” McClain said. “Whenever these standards are vetted – some time in February – the state is going to roll out massive training on the standards.”
But with the information provided so far, McClain and Director of Schools Kevin Ward both said they are hopeful about the changes and believe the new standards will have a positive impact for students in Carter County.
“We’re going away from it but we’re not totally going away from what the Common Core stood for, which is the rigor, excellence and student achievement,” Ward said.
McClain also voiced his support of the new standards. “I am a fan of the new Tennessee State Standards,” he said. “I believe we can produce a better educated student when they graduate, using the state standards.”
The new standards, much like the Common Core, will have a focus on literacy as a means to improve student achievement, McClain said.
Most of the student achievement tests will be administered on a computer, McClain said.
Also, much of the student testing will move away from the old multiple choice and true or false question formats and more toward essay and written answer formats, he added.
“Not only are our students learning new standards but they are being tested in a completely new way,” McClain said.
Commissioner Nancy Brown, who is not a member of the Education Committee but was in attendance at the meeting, asked what impact the computer testing would have on those students who don’t have access to a computer in their homes.
Each school in the county has two computer labs, McClain assured her, and students are working on those computers to build the skills they need for the testing. Each class has a scheduled block of time for the computer labs.
School officials are also hoping the adoption of the new standards by the state will help provide some stability for educators which has been lacking in recent years.
“This is the fourth set of standards we’ve had in the last 10 years,” McClain said, adding the constantly changing standards make it difficult for teachers and students alike. “In some cases we’ve changed the standards and not changed the assessment, which is not fair to the students or the teachers.”

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