Idaho Core Standards Myth vs Facts

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Here are some Myth vs Facts about the Common Core, or the Idaho Core Standards, as they are known in Idaho:

The Common Core standards were developed by states.
In 2007, state education officials met to explore the possibility of developing common standards through a state-led effort. In June 2010, the states published the final standards in mathematics and English language arts.

Idaho schools have begun using the Idaho Core Standards.
These standards were adopted as the Idaho Core Standards by our State Department of Education in November, 2010 and approved by the Legislature in January, 2011. Schools began using the new standards in the Fall, 2013.

The Idaho Core Standards do not change data collection practices.
The Core Standards are not tied to the collection of any student information beyond current practices. The Idaho Public Records law and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) still prevent educational institutions from disclosing students’ personal information without parental consent.(1)

The Idaho Core Standards raise the bar for students to better prepare them for the job market.
Idaho adopted the Idaho Core Standards because they set higher expectations for student learning. The rigor of texts taught in schools has not kept pace with what is required in the workforce.(2) The Core Standards ask students to build on increasingly complex tasks, such as reading, with each grade level.(3) Additionally, the standards are aligned with skills in demand by employers and postsecondary institutions: the ability to communicate effectively, solve problems, think critically, and analyze information as well as the ability to understand new problems.(4)

The Idaho Core Standards will mean more rigorous assessments.
Idaho joined a consortium of states to develop a test based on the Core Standards in the areas of math and language arts. Several important changes will result in more precise measurement of skill development:

  • It is fully computer-based, allowing it to adapt to individual student performance
  • Traditional multiple choice questions are included as well as exercises that require students to complete small projects made up of several tasks.(5)
  • Schools and districts will determine if and when to administer shorter interim tests that allow teachers to use results to tailor their methods to areas for improvement.(6)
  • Idaho will “field test” the new test in all districts in Spring 2014.(7) The new test will be fully operational in Spring 2015. The new test is known by three different names: the new ISAT (Idaho Standards Achievement Test), the SBAC test, or the (Common) Core test.

The Idaho Core Standards leave curriculum decisions in local hands.
Idaho previously had state standards describing the skills that our students ought to have at each grade level. In fact, the rate of overlap between the previous standards and Idaho Core Standards is 70%.(8) Decisions about how to achieve these learning goals (for example, what texts or curricula to use) will continue to be made locally.

Footnotes:
1. FERPA Law. Accessed at : http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferparegs.pdf
2. Idaho State Department of Education (2012). Regional CSS Training. Power Point Presentation. Accessed at: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/common/ELAcore/proDev.htm
3. Ibid.
4. Achieve (2012). Understanding the Skills in the Common Core Standards. Accessed at http://www.achieve.org/files/Understanding-Skills-CCSS.pdf; Idaho State Department of Education (2012). 8 Mathematical Practice Standards. Power Point Presentation. Accessed at: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/common/mathCore/
5. Willits, L. (2013). Assessment and Accountability. Power Point Presentation. Accessed at: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/superintendentMeeting/
6. Miller, C. (2012). Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium in Idaho. Power Point Presentation delivered at the Idaho State Board of Education Complete College Idaho Conference (October 2012). Accessed at: http://www.boardofed.idaho.gov/meetings/special_events/CompleteIdahoConfernence/Presentations/C_Miller_SBAC.pdf
7. Idaho State Board of Education (2012). Smarter Balanced Idaho Frequently Asked Questions. Accessed at http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/commonAssessment/docs/Smarter%20Balanced%20-%20Idaho%20Specific%20FAQs.pdf
8. Achieve (2010). Gap Analysis. Accessed at: http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/common