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New guidelines would increase learning, make measuring learning easier
Core curriculum helps kids learn at deeper level
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Common Core State Standards: Read a draft of the proposed standards

Proposed national standards in language arts and math won’t greatly affect what local students learn, according to Gainesville schools Superintendent Merianne Dyer. But the new guidelines would allow states to compare apples to apples, as far as what students are learning, and could mean students learn at a deeper level.

“The benefit of common core is that teachers across the country will teach common, essential knowledge, and students should be able to not only master it, but apply it,” Dyer said.

According to Dyer, who is co-chairwoman of a policy group at the University of Georgia that is studying the initiative, the core standards are in line with what Georgia students are learning under the current Georgia Performance Standards. But the new standards call for students to build upon knowledge throughout their academic career.

For example, in kindergarten, students would learn about the five senses and their associated body parts. In first grade, students would build on that basic knowledge of the human body with an introduction of the body’s various systems. By the end of fifth grade, students would have an extensive knowledge of the body’s parts, systems and how they all work together.

The standards would provide more opportunities for higher-level learning, according to Donna R. McMullan, Jefferson City Schools associate superintendent.

“The common core standards focus more on application of knowledge and the development of higher-order thinking skills,” she said, “which should provide more opportunities for increased rigor in the curriculum.”

And that increased learning would be more easily and accurately measured since the standards would create a consistent framework for education across the country.

The draft includes proposed standards for kindergarten through 12th grades. The standards focus on outlining what students need to learn by a given point in the academic career, rather than detailing how instructors should teach. The proposal also gives individual states the opportunity to add standards to the provided core.

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers created the standards in an effort to help American students compete in a global economy.

While creating the draft, organizers pulled ideas from college and work expectations, current state standards and standards from top-performing countries. A final version is expected by late spring, but the public is invited to comment on the document until April 2.