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As Summer Ends, Common Core Standards Kick In At San Diego Schools

Above: A young girl leans in close to her workbook and tries to focus on her writing.

Aired 8/25/14 on KPBS News.

As Common Core standards officially kick in at schools around California this year, student teachers might have an edge in tackling its education strategies.

The end of summer is near, and all across San Diego County schools are getting ready to begin teaching the new Common Core standards.

Nadine Bezuk,​ director of teacher education at San Diego State University, said elementary school teachers need support in particular to change their teaching methods and adapt to the new Common Core standards.

“Elementary school teachers have to teach lots of subjects all day long," Bezuk said. "So they’re going to need help in enhancing their math knowledge, learning more about the Common Core standards, the concepts behind the Common Core standards at their grade level, and some teaching strategies that are going to help the kids be able to meet those new standards.”

Common Core is a new national curriculum standard for English and math, defining what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. The initiative was started by governors and state education leaders, and California and 44 other states plus Washington, D.C., voluntarily adopted both new sets of standards. Teachers, content experts and school administrators from all over the country helped write the standards.

​Student teachers might have an advantage when it comes to having the training they need to teach Common Core, Bezuk said. She has 45 hours to train her student teachers. That may sounds like a lot, Bezuk said, but she could always use more.

Giving that much training to experienced teachers on how to introduce Common Core standards in the classroom is out of the question for many school districts, Buzek said.

“A district just can't imagine 45 hours of professional development with each of their teachers in a year. I don't think they can make it happen,” Bezuk said.

New Assessment Tests

Next spring, students across California are taking the new “Smarter Balanced” assessment test.

Smarter Balanced Assessment test is run by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, made up of state representatives from across the country that came together to run the new testing system.

This spring, a field test was given to students to see how the new computer-based system would fair. The tests were scored, but only to see if the system worked.

This coming spring is the first year the test will be officially scored. The results will be used as a baseline and compared to results from the spring of 2016 to see how students are progressing.

Video

Smarter Balanced Field Test Overview

Above: Published on Mar 4, 2014 by the California Department of Education.

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