Last week I attended a meeting of the Kansas State Mathematics Leaders. A good portion of our day was spent discussing the common core state standards and what is known about the future mathematics assessment. Several of the members had attended the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics national convention and reported back to the group. Here are some of the things they shared.
· The new state assessment will include the opportunity to learn (OTL) component that is currently available in Kansas at the high school level. This means a 12-week testing window at the end of each school year will allow for two opportunities to take the state assessment. Schools will be allowed to re-teach and re-test students who do not reach the level of mastery expected for that grade level on the first administration.
· The reporting of assessment results will be in the form of a growth model, which may mean each student would have to be pre-tested or screened at the beginning of each school year.
· Concepts will not be retaught from one grade to the next. Mastery of grade level content is expected at the end of each year. Therefore, it is imperative we develop support structures for struggling students early. They will need access to the regular curriculum and additional support for content not mastered in a previous grade. RTI and MTSS will play a critical role in the common core standards process.
· The concerns about the common core for math that were enumerated at the convention included: a disregard for technology, due to political debates; the overload of material to be covered in sixth grade; concepts only being taught once; the need for vertical discussions about what and when to teach content; the need for professional development for teachers in both math content knowledge and pedagogical skills; and the fact that everyone must teach the common core state standards for their grade level or the system will break down.