How does the shift in the Alaska Language Arts standards impact teaching and learning in my classroom? What is the question I would like to research over the next eight weeks?
The shift in the Alaska Language standards impacts teaching in the classroom as well as learning. I feel that the biggest impact is on math. For me personally I see that we are no longer just able to compute and spit out an answer. The students are now being asked to discuss their answer and be able to talk about the process and how they reached their final answer. This demand on the students also puts a demand on the teacher to teach more in depth and require the students to understand the process.
I also understand that reading across content areas will change also. What I have been told in my district and what I understand is that if we teach our students about the reading structures and how they work the students will be able to better comprehend the material. There will be an impact on teaching across the board but it seems the biggest changes in teaching will take place at the high school level. Science teachers can no longer say, “I teach science” or math teachers say “I teach math.” and leave it at that. We are all responsible for our students understanding of the expository literature and their comprehension and command of academic language.
The impact no the students will come in the form of lower test scores and I fear there will be a large gap in some students’ knowledge as we change our focus and incorporate these new standards into the different levels. I know there is a plan in place to bridge that gap but I feel that there will still be many that fall through the cracks. My biggest concern would be ELL schools and schools within an area that are culturally less verbal. I know we already run into issues with students not communicating in our district and our reading curriculum requires team talking and answering verbally. We have been struggling to get kids comfortable with this form of learning.
Another impact I read about was the impact on school “grading”. This applies to the grades schools are given according to how well the students do on the standard tests. This article happened to be based on conversations that were happening about this issue in Florida. Some are saying that the formula used to “grade schools will have to be changed and others are saying it will not effect the formula. “Experts say the problem for grading systems are more political than statistical.”(O’Connor, J.). It will be interesting to see what happens.
O’Connor, J. (2013, August 12) New Standards Will require Rewriting Expectations, But Not School
Grading Formula. Retrieved from http://stateimpact.npr.org/florida/2013/09/05/will-new-common-standards-mean-less-teaching-to-the-test/
O’Connor, J. (2013, September, 5) Will New Common Standards Mean Less Teaching to the Test?.
Department of Education & Early Development, (2012). Alaska English/Language Arts and Mathematics
Standards. Juneau, AK. Alaska Department of Education & Early Development.