Parents joined educators from the Norwalk Public School System at the Norwalk Public Library, who presented their latest goals in Common Core State Standards, a set of academic benchmarks, now with a deeper focus on online testing.
"Forty-six states have voluntarily adopted these standards, not to compete with each other but to compete with Hong Kong and Singapore," said NPS Math Specialist Craig Creller. It's an embarrassment that America doesn't even score in the top 24 in mathematics worldwide. We get beat on the SAT by Costa Rica. This is not a top-down movement. It was the National Governor's Association in conduction with the chief state school officers who've said said it's not okay for Tennesee to be down here and Massachusetts to be up here, this is the United States of America, this is our student bill of rights. We want high standards for all students."
The Common Core Standards will focus more on non fiction and less on literature, in order to help students learn evidenced based writing skills. Educators say they are also teaching fewer topics in mathematics, but with a greater focus on each topic, learned at a deeper level.
"We're going to teach them differently," said Deputy Superintendent Anthony Daddona. "But we're creating standards that will help them towards college success and a career."
Deputy Superintendent Anthony Daddona says the computer adaptive testing (CAT) will show both teachers and parents student's academic strengths and weaknesses. Daddona calls the test a building of knowledge base and says it will not affect student grades.
"You cannot teach to this test," said Deputy Superintendent Anthony Daddona. "It's too broad, it's too cumbersome. You're teaching standards, and if you don't understand the standards that you're using. They're going to write an essay and if they don't have evidence to support your essay, they're going to get a poor grade."
Parents' biggest concerns revolved around the mechanics of online testing, accessing grades online and their ability to help their children with new online technology.
"There are a lot of supports online," said Daddona. "There's going to be a dictionary online, there's going to be a calculator online, will they be able to navigate that?"
All the information on Thursday night's presentation can be found on norwalkps.org