State affirms new education standards

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The state Board of Education on Thursday unanimously approved the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and math.

The standards for K-12 were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

They are based on the idea that all elementary and secondary students should learn certain skills and information no matter where they live.

States are on the fast track to adopt the standards to increase their chances of winning competitive federal money. The draft of the standards was released this spring and the final copy was made public June 2.

States can add an additional 15 percent to the common core standards. Pennsylvania may make some additions later.

The English language arts standards cover reading -- literature, information text and foundational skills -- as well as speaking and listening, writing, and language.

At the high school level, the standards address reading history and social studies as well as science and technical material. However, they don't address particular content students should master in those areas.

The math standards are divided by grade level from kindergarten through eighth grade. For high school, the standards cover six areas: number and quantity, algebra, functions, modeling, geometry and statistics and probability.

In addition to grade-level standards, the common core includes a section called "Standards for Mathematical Practice."

That includes five practices: making sense of problems and persevering in solving them, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, making viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others, modeling with math and using appropriate tools strategically.

Education writer Eleanor Chute: or 412-263-1955.


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