- Associated Press - Friday, April 15, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Board of Education has adopted new math standards for grades kindergarten through 12, which revises more than half of the national Common Core standards that are now in place.

The Arkansas Mathematics Standards will be introduced in classrooms in the fall and will be in full use in the state’s approximately 1,100 public schools by the 2017-2018 school year, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/23KHyeC ) reported.

The revisions, which affect about 65 percent of the current math standards, are the work of nearly 200 content specialists, math teachers and higher-education faculty members. Committees of elementary, middle school and high school educators reconstructed the standards that needed clarification or elaboration so that teachers across the state can interpret them similarly.

Arkansas was one of 40 states to adopt Common Core standards for English and math in 2010, but some Arkansas parents and teachers criticized the standards, which describe what students should know after completing each grade, as being inappropriate for students at certain grade levels. A task force created by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and led by Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin concluded that the state Department of Education should review and revise the standards.

The content is largely unchanged, but the individual standards have been reworded, divided into parts or supplemented with notes, according to Arkansas Department of Education public school program manager, Thomas Coy.

The revised standards place greater emphasis on counting money and telling time at the elementary level. Venn diagrams, logic and different kinds of polygons are also emphasized. However, statistics was mostly extracted from the algebra II standards and are being reserved for a new high school course.

“Our main goal was to give Arkansas teachers a document that is very clear on the intention of the standards,” said Stacy Smith, who is the department’s assistant commissioner for learning services.

Arkansas Education Commission Johnny Key told the board that the revision process was unprecedented in that it was transparent and included public surveys and live-streamed meetings.

“We believe this raises the bar for math education,” he said.

The new standards keep the same numbering and labeling system that is used in the Common Core standards, allowing Arkansas teachers to continue to draw on national and state resources.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com


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