The Parkland School Board reviewed the changes in the Chapter Four Regulations of the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards at their meeting on Tuesday night.
Assistant Superintendent Rodney Troutman presented the Board with an explanation describing what will change for each testing grade level year by year from 2013-2016.
The PSSA testing for reading and writing for grades 3-8 will be guaranteed to remain the same for the spring of 2013, but will begin to develop small changes throughout each test for the following three years. A writing field test will be given to grades 3-5 beginning next year in order to prepare the students for the upcoming change. Currently, the 11th grade students take the Keystone Exam instead of the PSSA Test, but this will change slightly for next year. The areas being tested at this grade are Algebra 1, Literature, and Biology so the students will take the Keystone Exam at the end of each class.
“Some students may take these tests as early as next month,” said Troutman. “We have [approximately] 1,850 students who will take the Keystone Exam for Algebra 1 in January,” he continued.
According to the Chapter Four Regulations of the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, a full implementation of the Common Core is required by July 1, 2013.
Not only are the exams changing in format, rigor, and difficulty, the graduation requirements for seniors will also change according to the Common Core Standards.
The graduation requirements will begin to change for the graduating class of 2016-17, meaning the current 8th grade students. The graduating students of 2017 and 2018 are required to score at least proficient on the Algebra 1, Biology, and Literature Keystone Exams or alternative exams. The graduating students of 2019 will be required to score proficient on the Algebra 1, Biology, Literature, and Composition Keystone Exams and the 2020 graduating class will need to be proficient on the Algebra 1, Biology, Literature, Composition, and Civics and Government Keystone Exams. The Composition and the Civics and Government Exams are not part of the Keystone Exams currently, but according to Troutman, will be added to the curriculum in the future if the budget will allow.
In order for the Parkland School District to shift towards successfully implementing the new Common Core Standards, the district will need to make instructional shifts, focusing on rigor and Depth of Knowledge Level 2 and 3 questions.