Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Finding Solutions (New Prichard Report On Implementing Standards in Kentucky Classrooms)

Important news fresh from Tuesday's Prichard Committee press release:

A first-hand look at how Kentucky’s academic standards are spurring innovative teaching and learning in classrooms is the focus of a special report from the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

Finding Solutions: Standards Push Students Toward Real-Life Problems” features eighth-grade math teacher Christa Lemily’s approach to introducing her South Warren Middle School students to mathematical formulas by determining the value of investing in a classic car. Such connections between challenging math and real-world situations have grown as a result of Kentucky’s academic standards.

“The standards focus not just on repetition, but on understanding and applying mathematic reasoning,” Lemily said. “These standards help teachers focus on how students are taught to reason and think through math as much as they focus on the skills that students are taught. The goal is math thinkers, not just math do-ers.”

Teachers at Pembroke Elementary and Millbrooke Elementary, both in Christian County, also share their experiences with the standards. Pembroke teacher Jettie Payne said the standards are prompting her fifth-grade math students to gain a solid understanding of fractions and decimals.

She also said her classroom represents a change from the way she learned to teach. “I remember sitting in class thinking, ‘When will I ever use this?,’” she said, adding that her lessons now draw clear connections between math and everyday application.

Millbrooke’s Cindy Wyatt said the standards have prompted her to select more challenging books for her second graders, leading to more interesting reflections and conversations in reading groups and stronger vocabulary development.

Kentucky's academic standards are also the focus of a second Prichard Committee report released today on “Progress in Kentucky Education: Higher Standards, Assessments and Teaching." Together, the reports provide an overview of progress in Kentucky education and how that is reflected in both policy developments and classroom practices.  Both are available at www.prichardcommittee.org.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!