Farmington Schools to Add Common Core Elements This Fall
An Oakland Schools math education consultant talks with school board members about changes in content standards and assessments.
While new Common Core standards won't be fully implemented in Farmington Schools until the 2015-2016 school year, educators will be using what they have learned in this school year's lessons.
Adopted by the Michigan Dept. of Education in 2010, the new set of rigorous standards is shared by 45 states, Oakland Schools Mathematics Education Consultant Valerie Mills told Farmington School Board members Tuesday.
"This change that's coming the potential to be the most dramatic and the most productive change we've seen in education since the Dewey Decimal system started organizing books in libraries," Mills said.
Common Core content standards focus on the expectations for what students should know at their grade level, without directing how they get to that knowledge, she added. "They don't tell teachers how to teach, but they do say, this is what a first grader should know, and on up through high school."
Curriculum coordinators from all 28 school districts in the Oakland Schools Intermediate District has been working on creating lessons for students, said Catherine Cost, assistant superintendent for K-12 instructional services.
"We are going to be implementing this year what has been developed thus far with Common Core," Cost said. The district has allotted a total of four professional development days for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, and teachers will also be able to work with trainers from Oakland Schools, she said.
Mills said Common Core standards:
- Are fewer, clearer and generally higher
- Are aligned with college and work expectations
- Focus on rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills
- Build on strengths and lessons learned from current standards
- Are internationally benchmarked
- Are based on evidence and research
Michigan is also one of 20 states that have formed an "assessment consortium", to create a common set of standards for testing students, annually and along the way. The biggest changes in the assessments is that they'll be done entirely on-line (paper and pencil tests will be available for three years), and students may be able to take the test twice and go with their best score.
Districts may create policies about who can re-take the test, Mills said.
Mills said while the Common Core standards program isn't perfect, one of the big benefits will be the opportunity "to build off one another's work and also to be able to learn from things that have not gone well."
To learn more, visit corestandards.org