Mastery of facts is certainly an important part of education.
Top students, though, go a step further as they move through their school years. They are able to apply the information they have learned to real-life situations, an ability that will pay great dividends as they proceed with their education and careers.
With that concept in mind, students across West Virginia are being prepared for a new standardized test that will replace the WESTEST.
Students will begin taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment Test during the 2014-2015 school year. It is based on the national Common Core State Standards, adopted by 45 states, including West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Every teacher in Marion County will be trained in the Common Core State Standards for next year, Marion County Superintendent of Schools Gary Price said at this week’s board of education meeting. Randy Farley, administrative assistant for curriculum, technology and instruction, will be in charge of the training.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, according to its web site, “is developing a system of valid, reliable and fair next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics for grades 3-8 and 11. The system — which includes both summative assessments for accountability purposes and optional interim assessments for instructional use — will use computer adaptive testing technologies to the greatest extent possible to provide meaningful feedback and actionable data that teachers and other educators can use to help students succeed. Smarter Balanced assessments will go beyond multiple-choice questions to include extended-response and technology-enhanced items, as well as performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.”
The Common Core State Standards, according to the mission statement, “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”
West Virginia officials believe the change in standardized testing will help the state better educate its young people.
“WESTEST is just a West Virginia-based test. Smarter Balanced is being developed by a consortium of 26 states. This should assure parents that West Virginia is implementing an equal curriculum,” said Robert Hull, associate superintendent for the state Department of Education’s Division of Teaching and Learning. “Now, we will be able to measure how our students compare to other states much easier.”
They won’t be measured simply by facts they can recall.
“The content is much more rigorous in that students don’t just need to know all of the basic skills, but instead need to be able to apply those skills. It’s not just, ‘Do you know it or not?”’ Hull said. “We used to say our curriculum was an inch deep and a mile wide, but it’s no longer about that. It’s about knowing fewer, more strategic things at a much deeper level. Students actually have to take the information and do something with it — not just regurgitate it back.”
The new test will be taken on a computer.
“Right now, everyone has a pencil and paper and they’re asked the same question. The new test is adaptive, which means students will be taken to different levels when they answer questions. If they get the answer right, they will receive a more advanced question,” Hull said.
It’s an evolving process.
Kindergarten and first-grade classes are now using the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives for math and reading/language arts. The standards are being implemented in second-grade classes, and all grades will use them by the fall of 2014. Standards for other subjects are still being developed. In the interim, the WESTEST will be used for science and social studies, Hull told the Charleston Gazette.
Standardized testing is not about passing or failing. It’s about developing information to help students and those responsible to educating them.
West Virginia is moving to meet that objective.
Mastery of facts is certainly an important part of education.
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
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- If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is