Diana Smith, of the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Assessment and Accountability, spoke to the Tucker County Board of Education recently about the new Common Core State Standards being implemented throughout West Virginia's educational system.
The Common Core Standards, Smith explained during a regular meeting last week, are being introduced segmentally, one grade at a time, to ensure the feasibility of the transition.
However, by 2014, every grade will have converted to the new standards, which are designed to establish consistency of curriculums from school to school and state to state, as well as to make sure information is given to students in ways that are directly applicable to real-world situations.
For example, geometry will be taught with greater focus on actual applications, instead of theoretical abstractions.
While the the standards are the product of extensive research, the transition does pose some difficulties, Smith said.
One of the primary difficulties is that assessment tests for the new standards will not be implemented until 2014, when all of the grades have converted to the new standards. This means that, until 2014, students will be learning information that conforms to new standards, but they will be tested according to old standards via the WesTest II.
The Board of Education members, as well as Tucker County High School Principal Jay Hamric, who was also present at the meeting, agreed that this conflict of standards and testing will probably be uncomfortable for students and teachers.
However, they also agreed that all they can do is prepare staff and students for the transition.
"We are doing everything we can to make sure we are ready for these changes," Hamric said.
Regarding other business, the BOE approved changed time of the next BOE meeting from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will be conducted at the Tucker County board office.
The BOE also approved the following recommendations made by Superintendent Eddie Campbell: