Five Things You Should Know About Common Core

Arizona’s public K-12 schools are transitioning to new, more rigorous standards — Arizona’s Common Core Standards.

School must use these new guidelines in the classroom by the 2013-14 school year, and students will be tested on the new standards during the 2014-15 school year.

There are still many questions surrounding the transition, and Dr. Ildiko Laczko-Kerr, Vice President of Academics for the Arizona Charter Schools Association, is presenting at the Arizona School Boards Association Summer Leadership Institute in Flagstaff to help answer some pressing questions.

We have put together a “teaser” for her presentation. Below are Ildi’s answers to the top five questions about how Common Core will affect Arizona’s schools.

  1.  AIMS questions will get harder — Over the next two years, the Department will increase the level of rigor on the AIMS tests to help with the transition to the new standards.
  2. No more AIMS by 2015 — One year after Arizona transitions to the new standards, students will no longer be tested using Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS). Instead, Arizona is developing new, more rigorous assessments, which are set to be used during the 2014-15 school year, called PARCC.
  3. New tests will be more rigorousIn addition to multiple choice questions, students will be asked to respond to “innovative items. ” For example, students will be asked to read new information, analyze it and respond to unique or novel questions.
  4. No pilot schools —The Arizona Department of Education is not looking for a group of schools to pilot the new assessments. All students will take the test during the spring of 2015, except high school students who failed to pass the AIMS exams in previous years. They will continue to retake AIMS throughout their high school career.
  5. School letter grades could be in jeopardy —50 percent of letter grades are based on the percent of students passing assessments, and the other half is based on academic growth.  If schools don’t maintain their level of percent passing, their letter grade is in jeopardy of decreasing unless the Arizona Department of Education makes a significant adjustment to the formula.

Find the conference agenda here and register for this two-day workshop here.

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