Sunday, February 7, 2010

Research in the common core (Wow!)

The new draft common core standards (available here) for English/language arts include a major section on "writing and research."

The draft standards for "gathering research" caught my eye because that element that has not been a Kentucky focus in past standards.

For kindergarten and grades 1, 2, and 3, the draft standards for expect students to:
• Gather information from experiences or provided text sources.
For grades 4 and 5, the expectations rise, with the draft asking students to:
• Perform short, focused research tasks that build knowledge by exploring aspects of a single topic
• Gather information from experience, as well as print and digital resources.
• Determine the accuracy and relevance of the information gathered to answer specific questions.
• Restate information from source materials in one’s own words, through summary or paraphrase
• Provide basic bibliographic information for print and digital sources.
The expectations rise again for grades 6 to 8 and for grades 9 and 10, and I'll move past those to the culminating expectation. In grade 11, and to be counted as college-and-career ready, the draft standards expect students to:
• Demonstrate proficiency at performing short, focused research projects as well as more sustained inquiries that synthesize multiple authoritative sources on a subject.
• Analyze evidence independently gathered from multiple authoritative and credible print and digital sources.
• Assess the credibility, reliability, consistency, and accuracy of the information and sources gathered and determine their usefulness and relevance for the specific audience, purpose, and task.
• Represent and cite accurately the data, conclusions, and opinions of others, effectively incorporating them into one’s own work while avoiding plagiarism.
• Cite print or electronic sources correctly and document quotations, paraphrases, graphics, and other information using a standard format.
Further, the research section is reinforced by other portions of the draft standards, including those on specifics of informative and explanatory writing and on communicating opinions and arguments.

For college work and for career success, the ability to locate, evaluate, organize, and communicate information is an important skill to develop. In this part of the draft, the common core approach definitely brings the clearer, deeper expectations Senate Bill 1 requires.

Earlier PrichBlog posts on the new grade-by-grade draft standards can be found here, here, and here. A quick summary of how Kentucky's Senate Bill 1 works with the multi-state common core effort and the federal Race to the Top competition is here.

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