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Area educators confident with new standards

North Dakota has approved math and English standards in place for the 2017-18 school year, and educators say the new measurements of skills are not all that different from the Common Core standards that were replaced. The new standards are grade-...

  

North Dakota has approved math and English standards in place for the 2017-18 school year, and educators say the new measurements of skills are not all that different from the Common Core standards that were replaced.

The new standards are grade-level expectations for math, reading and comprehension of English and literature, and are not all that different from Common Core, said Joe Hegland, curriculum and professional development director for Jamestown Public Schools.

“In large part they are very similar to our previous standards with some shifting and adjusting of elements to strengthen them,” Hegland said.

The new standards were written with input from North Dakota educators to reflect state expectations, he said. A committee of teachers - 38 math and 33 English teachers

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- from around the state started work in June 2016 and had a final version submitted to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction in March.

“Jamestown Public Schools did not have any teachers on the writing committee, but drafts of the new standards were reviewed by many of our teachers during the process with questions and suggestions sent to the writing committees,” Hegland said. “Teachers I have visited with are pleased with the final product and think the process was open and invited participation.”

Kirsten Baesler, state superintendent of public instruction, approved the new standards on April 7. The standards are typically revised every seven years, so the change is not just about a separation from Common Core, she said in a press release.

The standards committee members worked with Common Core standards that were in place for six years and were qualified to improve on them, Baesler said. The new standards are also supported by the North Dakota University System, she said.

Les Dale, superintendent of Midkota Public Schools, said there is a lot of information within the new standards to review. The changes are in details on how to adapt the new standards in the classrooms, he said.

“Our school will be asking the teachers to take a look at the standards, and we will meet in the future to determine if any adjustments need to be made to meet the new standards,” Dale said.

RaeLea Frishman, principal and teacher at Hillcrest School in Jamestown, a private Seventh-day Adventist school, said it is early in the process of reviewing the new standards to know how the curriculum will need to adjust.

“We have our own set of standards, but they always align with the North Dakota standards,” Frishman said. “I am sure they will go along with what the new standards are.”

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The revised testing methods for the new standards are a separate matter that had more serious issues that needed to be addressed, Hegland said.

“It is my understanding that the state will be using a new assessment starting next year,” Hegland said. “The DPI has formed a group that is examining that issue.”

North Dakota was part of the Smarter Balanced Consortium, a group of states working together to create a computer-based assessment that is adaptive to each education department to provide more consistent results, he said. The state contracted with Measured Progress to manage administration of testing across the state, he said.

There were significant technology problems in the first year of testing for Common Core, and the state eventually received some compensation from Measured Progress for those difficulties, he said. For 2016-17 the testing technology has worked very well, he said.

tlaventure@jamestownsun.com

(701) 952-8455

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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