Thursday, July 31, 2008

Georgia's Standards Get High Marks

Georgia's state curriculum is extremely well-aligned with what colleges and the business world expect high school graduates to know, according to a national report released today.

Achieve Inc., a group seeking to raise academic standards across the nation, reviewed the standards of 16 states to determine if the state's expectations of students aligned with the skills and knowledge needed in college and the work place. With a top score of 3 points, Georgia's English standards scored 2.96 and Georgia's math standards scored 2.79.

"The Achieve report is another validation of the hard work that was done to create clear, rigorous standards for our students," said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. "The Georgia Performance Standards are providing our students the core knowledge they need to be successful in the 21st century."

Georgia is one of 33 states engaged in Achieve's "American Diploma Project," which seeks to align state standards with college- and work-ready expectations. It is the result of collaboration between the nation's governor's and business leaders.

"This report underscores the wisdom to put in place a more rigorous curriculum in Georgia's K-12 schools," said University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis. "Higher academic standards in K-12 means more Georgians graduating from high school prepared for college-level work, and in turn, ultimately, more college graduates ready to help Georgia prosper."

Achieve's report, "Out of Many, One: Toward Rigorous Common Core Standards from the Ground Up," reviews the English and Mathematics standards for the 16 states that signed on to the American Diploma Project early on. It rates English standards in eight categories, or "strands," and rates Mathematics standards in five categories. The top possible score is a 3.0 in each area (see chart below).

Georgia has revised its core curriculum into a set of clear, rigorous expectations called the Georgia Performance Standards. The curriculum revision began with the four core subjects of English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. The Georgia Performance Standards are being phased in over a number of years and teachers are being trained for a full year before the new curriculum is introduced in the classroom.

Additionally, the state has a new set of graduation requirements that were developed collaboratively by educators and leaders from K-12 schools, colleges, universities, technical colleges and the business community. In order to earn a diploma, students who are entering 9th grade in 2008-2009 will have to take four years of mathematics, science and English Language arts and three years of social studies. These students will also have at least seven electives with which to personalize their education, whether that includes more core content, career-preparation classes or pursuit of the arts.

"In today's world, all students need a strong foundation in mathematics, English, science and social studies, no matter what their plans are after school," said Ron Jackson, Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia. "If we properly prepare our students in elementary, middle and high school, we are preparing our students for success and creating a strong workforce for the state of Georgia."

Superintendent Cox, Chancellor Davis and Commissioner Jackson serve together on the Alliance of Education Agency Heads. The Alliance brings together the leaders of Georgia's seven education agencies to collaborate on initiatives that will improve educational opportunities, from pre-K to Ph. D.

The other members of the Alliance are Jennifer Rippner Buck, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement; Tim Connell, President of the Georgia Student Finance Commission, Kelly Henson, Executive Secretary of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, and Holly Robinson, Commissioner of the Department of Early Care and Learning. The Alliance also includes representatives from the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Learn more about the Alliance at

Strand Score (out of 3.0)
Language 3.00
Communication 3.00
Writing 3.00
Research 3.00
Logic 3.00
Informational Text 2.67
Media 3.00
Literature 3.00

Strand Score (out of 3.0)

Number Sense and Numeracy Operations 2.63
Algebra 2.92
Geometry 2.89
Data Interpretation, Statistics & Probability 2.50
Mathematical Reasoning 3.00

No comments: