The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Is school work getting harder? You be the judge.

Many of you may not know this, but Indiana was recently ranked first in the nation in its academic standards and its assessment system. (link here) That might start some debate!

Many veteran teachers feel like the curriculum has been shoved down and shoved down. Most parents wouldn't recognize the material from their elementary days!

Here is a 2nd grade writing standard for Indiana:

Write or deliver a research report that has been developed using a systematic research process (defines the topic, gathers information, determines credibility, reports findings) and that: uses a variety of resources (books, technology, pictures, charts, tables of contents, diagrams) and documents sources (titles and authors).organizes information by categorizing it into single categories (such as size or color) or includes information gained through observation.

Whoa Nelly! When I was in second grade I think I was still having 3 recesses a day and maybe even milk and cookies! If middle schoolers could do this with consistency we would be thrilled. Now granted, the subject matter can be scaled down considerably.

Parents, do you want to know what your children are expected to know and be able to do in Indiana at each grade level? Click here and choose a subject from the pull down menu. Then move your cursor over the colored buttons for every grade level and look at the standards. It's all here.

You can also print off sample problems to practice with too.


Edward said...

Yes, it is.
I was just at the parent night at the High School for in coming Freshmen, and it seems to me that Indiana is doing WAY too much, WAY too quickly. It sounds like High School should be a five year school. Schools don't seem to be taking any responsibility for their failures. It is all on the students and parents, according to your counselors. They talk and talk, but what are they really doing, not much it would seem.

Anonymous said...

The standards are getting harder...That is reality , but what are we doing for the here and now to reach those standards? After reading our ISTEP scores in the paper I would say that we are in trouble...the surrounding districts seem to be going up, but we are going down. Argue the numbers good or bad or looking at this group or that, but it appears Wawasee has a real problem. Our solution??? Have classes with 26+ students in the elementary grades... Hello... It doesn't seem to be working...And that is not by the parents or students decision. We had better find a solution and get our priorities straight or we are going to continue to go down and then where will we be? Classes of 30 with one teacher or state run?

Sara said...

DR, Stock Thank you for the links. I how have a better understanding as to what my children are expected to know. This will enable me to help my children.

Anonymous said...

It's so easy to point fingers on others and place the blame for students' failures on others. Each segment of the educational process needs to work together and stop passing the buck.

Teachers need to care about the students they teach, make sure standards are covered, hold students accountable, and continue to learn new and innovative ways of presenting material.

Parents also need to make sure their children are prepared to be successful in the classroom. Read to them when they're young, take them to museums, ask them about school, show interest in what they're learning, etc. Make sure the students are getting enough sleep at night and are not stressed by outside factors.

Students, however, are the ones who really need to take responsibility. When the teacher and/or parents care more about the child's grade than the student cares, mastering academic material will not happen no matter how hard the teacher tries.

How can the entire educational community work together to make education function better so that every child learns to his/her potential?

Anonymous said...

I teach first grade and I would love it if I could put my finger on one major factor that helps students succeed...maybe someday, but I don't see it happening any time soon (or ever). My kids have to know and understand fractions by the end of the year...aauuggh! I don't think I learned fractions until third grade. Kids and parents are under a lot of pressure to achieve these days, but like we talked about today at school, "kids these days are smart!"

Mamacita said...

How sad that we have been required to cease teaching children and are now forced to focus on teaching. . . standards.

Did I say "sad?" Perhaps a better word might be "tragic."

Sense of Freedom said...

Kids these days seem smart because they know how to use gadgets and such. They understand that if you push a button, something will happen. This does not mean they are necessarily more advanced than children from five or even ten years ago. I am actually one of those people. I can take apart a computer, put it back together, and fix just about anything about it, but when it comes to imaginary numbers when factoring, I understand the concept, but I wouldn't say I know the material. I agree with edward when he said we're doing way too much too quickly. The first English class I took this year we wrote a 5-7 page research paper withing a week, along with doing other things in that class. So, instead of being able to focus on the paper, we had grammar, and we had to read a few stories, take some tests, etc. I was lucky I got my paper done, but it was at the cost of everything else. All of my other classes suffered because I was worried about this paper that, as I was told, "If you don't do, you'll fail". People look at the grades I get (C's and B's) and think I'm not as smart as those getting A's. This is far from true, I'm simply required to do more, and am more focused on my career. It won't matter what battle in the civil war cause Gen. McClellan to be fired by Lincoln when you get into the work force, but it will matter how well you perform at the job you've taken up. High School is supposed to prepare students for real life and the work force, but how can we be prepared when it seems we're under-achieving, because we as the student are more focused on life after High School than the staff. To teachers, it doesn't matter what we want to do, or how we'd use any of this in the future. What does matter is that the curriculum be taught, pardon, force-fed to students, so that they can keep their jobs.

Anonymous said...

It's true that students need soft skills when they graduate: ability to get along with others, work on teams, solve problems, and be critical thinkers.

Teachers are attempting to teach this along with standards. Students sometimes hate working in groups because they have to cooperate with students who have a different academic level or are very than themselves.

In the workplace students will have to learn to get along with all kinds of people--whether they like them or not!

The pressure the above student felt while completing a paper is not unlike some situations he may find himself in when he gets to college or gets a job. Working under pressure and accomplishing tasks is a good skill to learn. The above student should not allow other classes to suffer as a result the paper he was to write.

I disagree with his last statement that we don't care about their futures--our main goal is for them to be successful after high school and that is a very important goal as we teach today's curriculum.

Anonymous said...

It is true that Indiana academic standards are award winning for their high level. However, Indiana's performance on these "wonderful" standards seems to be significantly lower than it should be.

I guess I think it would be nice if standards were achieveable and helped kids grow at an appropriate pace.

I also think it would be nice if kids could be kids every now and then.

Should second graders write research papers? I don't know for sure.

Should they have recess? I think they should. They should be allowed to be kids and experience some comfort, social relationships, and support from the school.

In an era of incrasing accountability, the family structure is increasingly less accountable and children need to find love, acceptance, support, fun, and joy somewhere -- since parents are often unable or too selfish to provide for those needs.

I could go on forever, but I'll stop for now.