Parkway e-News Story

What Common Core Means for Your Child

What do the new Common Core State Standards in Math and English Language Arts mean for Parkway students? Please take a moment to watch this short video.

Why new standards?
The world is changing. As parents and educators, we’re preparing students for a world that is very different from when we were in school. With advances in technology and a competitive, global economy, many of the jobs our children will have don’t even exist yet.

Students will always need an education that is grounded in essential knowledge and basic skills. But that’s not enough. They also need to be able to think, solve problems and respond to the challenges of an ever-changing world. They must know how to apply what they learn in the classroom to everyday life to help them wrestle with complex issues. In short, they must develop a deeper understanding of core concepts in school.

Our leaders and teachers believe these standards provide every student the opportunity to succeed. In fact, the higher expectations demanded by Common Core are aligned with the direction Parkway was already moving in to make sure children are prepared for college and career.

Who created the new standards?
The higher standards for Math and English Language Arts were a state-led initiative with input from educators across the country, including Parkway educators. States were not required to adopt the standards. Missouri is one of 45 states that adopted the higher expectations for its students.

Is Common Core a new curriculum?
Common Core is not a curriculum. It simply outlines what students are expected to know by grade level or course. Common Core does not tell Parkway teachers how to teach or what materials to use to ensure students can meet these expectations. Parkway will continue to develop its own challenging curriculum.

How will the tests be different?
In the spring of 2015, Parkway students starting in the third grade and above will begin taking new state tests in Math and English Language Arts. The new MAP tests will include more challenging academic content based on the Common Core State Standards. The goal of the new tests is to better prepare students for success in college or the workforce when they graduate.

1. The new MAP tests will be taken online. Parkway students have already started practicing with similar online tests to help them get ready. Traditional pencil and paper tests will continue to be available. However, we’ve found that most students prefer computer-based tests.
2. Students will be asked to demonstrate that they understand basic concepts and can apply them in practical ways to solve problems.
3. The tests will be more demanding and some content will be covered sooner than before. For example, students will start learning fractions in third grade instead of fifth grade. Because of this, we expect an initial decrease in overall test scores.

How can I help my child learn at home?
We want all students to be successful when they graduate from Parkway. You can help by carving out time every day for your child to study in a quiet place. Try to sit down with your child at least once a week to go over homework and assignments. This will keep you informed about what your child is working on, and will ensure you are the first to know if your child needs additional help in certain areas. Finally, keep in touch with your teachers and work as a team to support your child’s learning and growth.

Where can I get more information?
More information and resources including links to view the actual standards by grade are here.

You can also call Kevin Beckner, Parkway Student Assessment, at 415-7047