State Department leaders responsible for implementation of state learning standards delivered a progress report on implementation of the new math and English language arts standards to the State Board of Education. Local school systems began implementation of the new math standards this year and teachers prepared to implement the new ELA standards next year.
The mathematics Course of Study Committee that developed the standards for adoption in 2010 reconvened this year to review the first year of implementation. Based on feedback, changes were made to the standards for high school to improve clarity and to move some standards to more appropriate course outlines.
Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS) are based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The CCSS are written simply and broadly as high school standards. Alabama’s Course of Study Committee separated the standards into specific high school classes. Based on feedback from teachers, the SDE has modified some wording to improve clarity and shifted some standards and examples in the Course of Study to ensure that standards are addressed in the appropriate course.
Additionally, the Department has added a disclaimer to make it very clear that text exemplars included as an appendix for the English Language Arts standards are not mandated. They are simply suggestions for school systems and faculties as they develop their local curriculum and select reading materials. Examples of the exemplars range from the U.S. founding documents to works of fiction. These are suggestions for both English Language Arts courses as well as texts for developing greater comprehension in other core content courses.
More work is being done to help systems communicate the difference between standards, curriculum and instructional materials and resources. Local systems and teachers retain full control of development of curriculum and choices for instructional materials and resources.
While the state academic standards are thoroughly reviewed and updated every six years the ALSDE plans to review the standards on a more frequent basis.