Common Core State Standards, which are being phased in in schools across the country, are going to require major shifts in the math and English language arts curriculum in Pittsburgh Public Schools.
The changes are so significant that the reading level now required in 10th grade will be required of eighth-graders. Sixth-grade math already this year was moved down to fifth-grade.
Preparing students to meet the standards will be the responsibility of teachers in all core subject areas, such as science teachers who will be trained to teach students to do science writing.
In Pennsylvania, the first statewide tests -- known as Keystone Exams -- to be based on the new standards will be given this school year in three high school subjects: Algebra1, literature and biology.
In future years, the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests given in grades 3-8 in reading and math will be aligned with the new standards instead of the old state academic standards.
In general, the new standards are aimed at teaching fewer concepts at a deeper level than the old standards which covered a wider array of topics but in a more shallow manner.
Chief Academic Officer Jerri Lynn Lippert expects Pittsburgh students will experience a decline because of the increased difficulty of the new standards.
Board president Sherry Hazuda wondered: "The kids who are struggling now, if we're going to raise expectations, how are they going to do it?"
Education writer Eleanor Chute: email@example.com or 412-263-1955.