- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014

DALLAS (AP) - Some Texas children are finding their teachers are moving at a faster pace after a shift in math test standards has forced educators to cover more ground.

The Dallas Morning News (https://bit.ly/1oR0wct ) reported Saturday that the changes moved some content that previously was covered in higher grades to lower grades. And students in upper grades will have to scramble to get up to speed with content that they should’ve covered in previous years under the new standards.

For instance, using a protractor to measure an angle was a skill learned at a sixth-grade level. Now students in fourth grade will learn to do it. Therefore, children currently in fifth and sixth grade are assumed to know how to use it, even if they did not cover it in previous years.

Last year’s State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness tests results showed that 9 percent of fifth-graders and 11 percent of eighth-graders did not pass the tests they needed to get automatic promotion.

A chart produced by the Richardson Independent School District shows that 46 percent of fifth grade students’ curriculum remained the same, 28 percent was moved down from the sixth and seventh grade and 26 percent is new content.

Children will also be required to cover more content on financial literacy since kindergarten.

Math standards for higher grades won’t change until next fall.

The changes have been coming since 2011, when the Texas Education Agency recommended major shifts to meet college and career readiness.

However, STAAR tests this year will not count for promotion because the new exams will not have been field tested and the state needs to know how the students score before it sets a passing standard.

“The students will be exposed to what they need to know. Will the timelines be met? Yes,” said Oswaldo Alvarenga, Dallas’ executive director for STEM instruction. “How deep an understanding will students have? That is a great question. Our teachers are working really hard to get that understanding and reach it to that level.”


Information from: The Dallas Morning News, https://www.dallasnews.com

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