Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Elementary Curriculum

Ever since the publication of CCSS, the elementary curriculum in the US has been in a state of flux. Previously, there were obvious problems in the standards driving curriculum across the country. The biggest problems previously were:
  • Educational standards that did not match the testing standards which produced tension between teaching to the standards versus teaching to the tests
  • Uneven standards across teh country so that the states with low standards, say Alabama and Louisiana, had standards that were grades lower than the other parts of the country
The new standards moved the country towards a single unified sense of more rigorous standards which were coherently organized and curriculum mapped across the grades.
What's good?
  • Switch in language arts from a primary focus on literature to a focus that blends literature with informational text.
  • Switch in math from the historical focus on the procedures of calculation to the actual concepts
  • Addition of multisector reading skills to language arts
What's not good? Lots of things especially the roll out to parents was all messed up and confusing. To this day, there are no good parent materials explaining the changes on elementary math. I think they failed to reorganize the primary grades into more coherent standards that would have led to higher student outcomes in literacy. We start too early teaching reading, we spend way too much time on the letters and their names, we don't focus nearly enough on phonological and vocabulary skills, and so on.

BTW, I love the switch to shades of meaning from synonyms. My personal favorite part of CCSS!