Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 29, 2014

Questions about the new Indiana academic standards

INDIANAPOLIS — Since the draft was released in February, Indiana’s new academic standards have been the target of criticism and concern from a variety of sources.

State Board of Education member David Freitas, an education professor at Indiana University South Bend, paused before the standards went to a vote Monday to open up discussion on what he considered the most common concerns that were brought before board members.

Danielle Shockey, deputy superintendent of public instruction; Molly Chamberlin, chief assessment and accountability officer for the state Center for Education and Career Innovation; and Sam Snideman, director of readiness and alignment for the Indiana Commission for Higher Education; addressed Freitas’ questions.

The new math and English standards each passed with a 10-1 vote.

Below is a summary of the main questions and responses about the 2014 Indiana Academic Standards:

Q: Why are the new standards so similar to the Common Core?

A: The Common Core State Standards were developed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers, with input from educators. Those groups looked at current academic standards — including Indiana’s 2006 English standards and 2009 math standards — when developing the Common Core. To draft Indiana’s new academic standards, evaluators reviewed several sets of standards, including the Common Core, and selected components of each. So there are elements in each set of standards borrowed from others. Also, there are universal skills and concepts that should show up in any set of academic standards.

Q: Will a different set of academic standards put Indiana students at a disadvantage on college placement tests, like the ACT?

A: The ACT test is aligned to ACT College and Career Readiness Standards that link to college instruction. The ACT is not aligned to the Common Core, or any other state standards, specifically.

Q: What difference do these standards make to Hoosier learners?

A: The Indiana Department of Education would like to see more emphasis with middle and high school students to help them understand the significance of academic standards and how they are used to measure skills students will need for college and a career.

Education reporter Lauren Fitch can be reached at 765-454-8587, by email at lauren.fitch@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @LaurenBFitch.

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