Cramming for tests is a common procedure for college students. But is the same happening in high school?
Local parents and students say yes—at least in math—
“The math standards have driven the expectations of students at a much higher level than they ever were before,” said Superintendent Joel Shapiro.
Because of this increased complexity, he says, math tutoring is an industry that is continuing to grow. But “I wish it weren’t the case,” he admits.
In December, held a meeting to explain Common Core Standards, which have been adopted by 45 states and will go into effect 2014. The standards, according to its website, "are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers."
Anderson explains: It will focus “less on applications and more on thinking through concepts." In other words, the curriculum will be “more application-driven.”
Importance of Testing
Gov. Jerry Brown said in his recent State of the State Address: "Yes, we should demand continuous improvement in meeting our state standards but we should not impose excessive or detailed mandates."
He suggested a site visitation program where each classroom in the state is visited, observed and evaluated, and said he would work with the State Board of Education to develop this proposal.
"We think the governor is on the right track," Dean Vogel, president of the California Teachers Association, told The Sacramento Bee. "We think the emphasis on high-stakes testing has really got us on the wrong track. You see less emphasis on the arts, drama, music—those kinds of electives."
At SPUSD’s in October, one parent asked that administrators work to make “truly special” rather than relying on test scores to set the bar.
But Shapiro and school principals insisted that the district does have a well-rounded curriculum.
Principal Joe Johnson cited Artist in Residence program, in which each grade level at the district's three elementary schools receive an eight-week rotation of a teaching artist who visits for 90 minutes weekly. The district contracted SPACE to host these art classes last year when art teachers were let go because of budget cuts.
“I think we do a very good job ... of not putting all our eggs in the STAR Test basket so to speak,” Shapiro told parents that night. “I think there are many districts that judge all of their success on those test scores. … We understand and agree that they are rather limited in information that they give.”
“If we felt it was the only thing we focus on, we would be doing our kids a disservice,” he continued.
Correction: This article originally stated Joe Johnson is the principal of Patch regrets the error.