LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi students will learn under a new set of standards this year.
Common Core State Standards were created by the National Governor's Association and the Council for Chief State School Officers in an effort to place all students on an even playing field in the classroom. Mississippi joins 45 other states with the adoption of Common Core, and Heather Jones of the Laurel School District has taught under these standards for the past three years.
"I do believe it's going to help our children compete locally, statewide and nationally," says Jones.
Common Core is not a curriculum, rather it is a set of benchmarks that are the same for every student in a particular grade, no matter the school.
"All children need to read," says Jones. "Children need to know how to deal with language.. so it fits for all children, it's not just for a certain group of kids."
The standards focus on mathematics and language arts, which are a foundation for other subject areas. The individual district chooses which resources will be used to teach the content in the classroom in order to meet these standards by the end of the school year. Because each classroom is different, it is a partnership between the district and the teachers to decide which methods are most effective for their students.
"I really don't see a big difference," says Jones of the former framework compared to Common Core standards. "I do see that we do a lot of talking... it's important to use the three tiers of vocabulary."
One of the main goals of Common Core is to make students think more analytically. The goal is to be able to explain how the answer was determined, not just select from multiple choice.
The 2013-2014 school year will be a transition period for many schools in Mississippi as they fully implement these standards. The MCT2 test will still be conducted this year, however, it will be "frozen" and not affect a school's grade. Mississippi students will not be tested on these standards until the 2014-2015 school year.