New standards will change teaching methods, tests
Michael D. Clark
This year marks the beginning of sweeping changes in the way Ohio students learn.
The largest wave of school reforms in decades is headed to your child’s classroom, likely impacting how every K-12 student learns. This “perfect storm” of school changes – most starting at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year in August – is designed to better prepare students for life after high school.Parents can expect their children to be challenged in new ways that differ radically from the traditional textbook and multiple-choice tests.
The changes brought on by adapting national “core curriculum” standards will challenge students and are designed to prepare “students for college and careers,” says Mason School Associate Superintendent Amy Spicher.
“Kids will have to use higher thinking skills, and the tests will be more rigorous,’’ Spicher says. “And they will have to explain their reasoning behind their answers.”
Among changes coming:
- Students in all grades will be tested more often using in-class computers. They will apply what they learn to solving more real-life problems as part of their math, science and English instruction.
- For the first time, third-graders will be held to higher reading standards. If they don’t achieve them, they will be held back.
- Parents will have assurances that the teachers and “intervention specialists” helping their children in reading and other subjects have met new, state-mandated qualifications.
- Teachers and principals will have annual job performance evaluations tied to uniform state criteria. Salary increases will be based on meeting those criteria.
- Parents will have a better idea of the comparative quality of their child’s school when the state begins phasing in “A-F” letter grades rather than the current vague category labels that have been in place since 1999.
“I like the direction of the reforms,’’ says Lakota schools parent Kathy Cook, who is PTO president at Plains Junior School in Butler County. “It will mean more expanded answers for students and showing what they know.” (more…)