Performance Standards vrs. Content Standards

An exchange between classmates, and my response…

Lauretta,

You wrote: In the Social Studies courses I teach, there is a lot of material to cover. It is difficult to pace the class to cover everything the California standards say we should cover and yet go into enough depth so the students really grasp the concepts.

Georgia is currently undergoing a massive restructuring to eliminate the problem you currently have. Our curriculum was described as having a lot of breath but no depth. You may find this link regarding our Performance Standards interesting information:

http://www.georgiastandards.org/faq.asp#faq1

Ada

Ada,

This is exciting news – thank you for sharing about the Georgia performance standards. I read all of the FAQs at the site you sent us to, and can say that California suffers from the same sort of problems with our content standards, especially that “it would take twenty-three years—not twelve—to cover the topics included at anywhere near the level of depth necessary for real learning to take place.” In fact, at the recent Orange County High School Summit, keynot speaker Dr. Daggett reported that one of the attributes of the top 30 schools in the nation which differentiated them from the next 300 (still very good) schools was that the top 30 took the time to prioritize their content standards and cut them down by 1/3 (which would bring Georgia’s 23 years down to a more manageable 15). Naturally I am excited that the performance standards are based on more authentic outcomes, too, but I wonder how this will play out in their standardized testing and the high school graduation test.

I presume you are working in Georgia. Have you had a chance to work with these new standards yet? Regardless, do you have any initial opinions of them or their implementation? Are they receiving any resistance from educators in the state?

-Mark

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