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Friday, April 18, 2014

PSS adopts common core state standards for students

Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan said the CNMI Public School System has adopted the common core state standards that will better prepare CNMI students for a globally competitive world, aligning PSS with 48 other states of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The common core state standards initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. These standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare children for college and the workforce.

The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.

Sablan told Saipan Tribune that the Board of Education, in line with this initiative, has adopted two common core state standards in the areas of language arts and math.

“We’re excited because this is an indication of CNMI aligning itself with the rest of the nation in providing quality education to students so they will fit right in because they have same curriculum and benchmarks,” she said.

By adopting the core state standard for math, for example, will greatly help Commonwealth graduates compete with high school graduates in other states. PSS, Sablan said, is now preparing all the necessary planning and training for the smooth implementation of the standard next school year, 2012-2013.

The high school common core state standard for math calls on students to practice applying mathematical ways of thinking to real world issues and challenges. They prepare students to think and reason mathematically. These standards set a rigorous definition of college and career readiness, by helping students develop a depth of understanding and ability to apply mathematics to novel situations, as college students and employees regularly do.

These standards also emphasize mathematical modeling, the use of mathematics and statistics to analyze empirical situations, understand them better, and improve decisions. For example, the draft standards state that, “Modeling links classroom mathematics and statistics to everyday life, work, and decision-making. It is the process of choosing and using appropriate mathematics and statistics to analyze empirical situations, to understand them better, and to improve decisions. Quantities and their relationships in physical, economic, public policy, social and everyday situations can be modeled using mathematical and statistical methods. When making mathematical models, technology is valuable for varying assumptions, exploring consequences, and comparing predictions with data.”

Sablan said that the CNMI is only the second territory to adopt the state standards next to Virgin Islands. Most states in the U.S. are also implementing the standards beginning this school year.

Saipan Tribune learned that the common core state standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses, and in workforce training programs. The standards are aligned with college and work expectations; are clear, understandable and consistent; include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills; build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards; are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in the global economy and society; and are evidence-based.

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