Waterford schools get update on new measuring stick

Waterford - When the school district's shift to Common Core State Standards is complete, the town will be able to compare their standardized test scores with students in 23 other states, enabling a greater understanding of how their students match up with those across the country.

On Monday, Board of Education members heard a presentation on the shift by Assistant Superintendent of Schools Craig Powers.

"The (standardized test) assessment will change in 2014 and it won't just be Connecticut we're comparing to, but the vast majority of the nation," Powers said.

Schools across the country are adopting the Common Core State Standards in an effort to provide consistent educational skills and opportunities to students.

According to the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices - one of the organizations responsible for promoting the shift - the standards communicate what is expected of students at each grade level.

"This is rigorous, this is setting the bar pretty high," board member Timothy Egan said.

He expressed a concern that students may have a "rough time" transitioning to the standards if they aren't used to a typical educational approach or have learning disabilities.

"We're starting the transitional process. We're not waiting for 2013-14 if we're not doing it, who else is going to do it, because when they leave here they're not going to be prepared. We've got to step up to the plate."

Every state in the country except Minnesota, Nebraska, Virginia, Alaska and Texas has adopted the Common Core standards. Puerto Rico also has not adopted it.

Currently, only the district's mathematics curriculum is aligned with the Common Core standards. The district also is working to shift its entire English and Language Arts curriculum by spring 2014.

j.hanckel@theday.com

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