PUSD to participate in pilot Common Core Standards program
When the new Common Core State Standards testing begin during the spring of 2015, the Porterville Unified School District will have an advantage and be a bit more prepared than other districts. That is because PUSD learned Monday that four of its schools — Belleview Elementary, Santa Fe Elementary, Granite Hills High School and the Prospect Education Center — have been selected to participate in a scientific pilot test.
“This gives us a chance to see what the test will be like,” said Val Staley, assistant superintendent of instructional services. “We can also look at the construction of the test, see how to administer it and check on any troubles we might have. It is definitely to our advantage.”
The district will hear today if John J. Doyle Elementary and Bartlett Middle School have also been selected to participate in the pilot program.
With Common Core standards, which will replace the California State Standards, students will no longer be able to guess correct answers through multiple choice questions. The new tests will require critical thinking and problem solving essays. The fill-in-the-bubble sheets will also disappear as the test is taken on computers.
During the pilot program, the schools will be administered one content-area test, in either mathematics or English language arts/literacy.
“We don’t know yet what subject, or what grade the test will be administered in,” Staley said. “We are planning on administering the test the last week of April or second week of May.”
Recently, on Jan. 24, Martha Stuemky, director of programs and assessment, offered a transitional report to the district’s board of directors.
The presentation was an overview, she said, of the time table for implementing the CCSS.
PUSD faculty begin attending Tulare County Office of Education Common Core staff development in March of last year.
In January, all administrators met to provide input and feedback to the Common Core roll out plan.
The district plans to have instructional units, lesson plans, interim assessments completed no later than the summer prior to implementation, she said, with kindergarten to eighth-grade campuses formally transitioning to Common Core in August, and high school campuses formally transitioning to Common Core by a year later in August 2014.
“Common Core standards provide a clear understanding of what students are expected to learn to be successful in college and career. The incredibly important work our teachers are about to begin will define how the standards are taught,” Stuemky said. “Our transition to Common Core standards and instructional strategies is a process, and will take some time to embed across the district. There is much work to be done.”
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.