As students return to school in the coming days, two teams of educators will continue writing standards to prepare them for college or a career. The 16-school Technical College System spends approximately $21 million per year catching students up on what they need to know before they are ready to earn a degree.
Some students undergoing remedial education can qualify for need-based grants of up to $2,500 per year. The state Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission awards those grants, funded annually by the General Assembly.
But one teacher on the 19-member math-writing panel thinks students learning under the college and career-ready standards the writers are preparing won’t need remedial education at a two-year school. Teachers, college professors and administrators make up the team.
“Drawing on the expertise from each will ensure that our standards require students to be independent learners, have strong content comprehension, develop reasoning skills, and cultivate the diligence needed to solve problems, communicate effectively, and use the technology demanded by jobs in the 21st century. These skills are considered to be college and career readiness skills,” wrote seventh grade math teacher, Susan Wood.
Wood’s responses were coordinated by the state Department of Education and the Greenville County School District. A Mauldin-based teacher of nine years, Wood teaches at Langston Charter Middle School in Greenville.
Previously an engineer, Wood wrote that she wanted to help write new standards so she could use her experiences to help students prepare for job opportunities in a changing economy.
Though Wood is helping write new standards, she called the Common Core State Standards—slated for full implementation this school year—a rigorous set of standards that meet the criteria for college and career readiness. After studying under the standards last school year, Wood’s students excelled on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards, which is administered to South Carolina students in grades four through eight.
A combined 95.6 percent of seventh graders at Langston scored “met” and “exemplary” in the math category on PASS this year, while 96.3 percent scored the same in English.
Statewide, 69.1 percent of seventh graders scored “met” and “exemplary” in math, while 68.1 percent scored the same in English.
After adoption of the Common Core State Standards in 2010, 69.7 percent of seventh graders scored “met” and “exemplary” in math, with 68.4 percent scoring the same in English.
Students scored similarly prior to the implementation of Common Core.
And according to Wood, there’s always room for improvement. “The new state standards will be very rigorous standards that will prepare our students for the future but concise enough to make the transition to new standards less stressful for teachers.”
New standards are scheduled for implementation during the 2015-2016 school year under a law passed this year.