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Local students must pass Common Core standards starting next school year

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Sunnyside School District Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessments Brian Hart talks to members of the Sunnyside Noon Rotary Club about Common Core State Standards.

Common Core State Standards will soon be the new benchmark in Washington state classrooms. That was the message delivered to Sunnyside Noon Rotarians this past Monday by Sunnyside School District Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessments Brian Hart.

He said academic standards are being established at every grade level with the new standards adopted by Washington state, as well as 45 other states across the nation.

In a video, explaining why Common Core standards are important, it was noted that previously there were different standards from state to state. Also, students in the U.S. may not have had the same set of academic standards as in other nations.

Hart said Common Core State Standards make education in the U.S. more competitive with the systems developed in other countries.

Common Core standards will measure academic progress of students in English language arts and mathematics. Those measurements are to be consistent from school to school, state to state and internationally.

Hart said a non-partisan group developed the standards, which will be a required part of the educational process in Washington beginning next year (2014-15).

“It benefits students, especially if they move here from another state,” said Hart.

He said the standards ensure students obtain the critical skills needed to be successful in the job market or college.

“We are hopeful that Common Core will help students to be career and college ready,” said Hart.

He said it is especially important for meeting the growing demand for individuals with mathematical and English skills in the job market.

Students will this year take the High School Proficiency Exam, the Measure of Student Progress and/or the end of course exams that have been required for the past few years, but next year students will need to take the Smarter Balanced Exam in math and English.

There will still be required end of course exams, said Hart. But the Smarter Balanced Exam will measure student academic progress based on Common Core standards.

Curtis Campbell, the director of administrative services for the Sunnyside School District, said the district doesn’t need to develop and adopt new curriculum to meet the standards.

“We don’t teach to the test,” he told the Rotarians, adding the district only needs to use curriculum it believes will provide educators with the tools needed to help students meet standards.

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