SEARCY, Ark. (KTHV) - Students in Arkansas classrooms will have new learning standards than they have had in previous years. The Common Core State Standards Initiative is being implemented in schools across the state; its goal is to get students ready for college and their future professions.
To achieve this, the Common Core program focuses on learning 'deeper' instead of 'wider. Students and teachers will now study deeper on a particular subject, rather than learning a 'wider' range of subjects. An example of this is the fifth grade class at South West Middle School in Searcy. Students there are focusing deeply on solving fractions by learning multiple ways to solve them.
The same principle goes for history students. Instead of trying to cover all the wars from the Civil War era through the Gulf Wars, teachers will spend more time explaining why a particular battle started, who the key players were, and have students write essays on the matter to help improve their grammar.
"It takes current state standards and builds on them," said fifth grade teacher, Terry Parrott. "It's helping our children set higher goals."
The necessary events will still be covered, but with more detail than before. Parrot says this approach helps cater to each student.
"You want them to look at it through the student's eyes, not through the teacher's eyes, and find a comfortable way they can solve a problem," she said. "One student's strategy may not be the same as another student, and that's okay."
English and Literature teacher Kathy Glewen agrees that this initiative helps the students learn, saying, "The playing field has been leveled and the expectations and the standards are the same."
Students through second grade started the Common Core Standards Initiative last year, third through eighth graders are implementing them this year, and they will be used in ninth through twelfth graders beginning next year.
For more information about Common Core State Standards Initiative and how to help students adjust to the new way of learning, click here.