With Common Core, ‘less is more’ for rural Florida school

In Defuniak Springs in Florida’s panhandle, the third graders at West Defuniak Elementary are learning division. Specifically, 72 divided by six. Their teacher, Casi Adkinson drew circles onto the board. “I share my 72 into my six circles,” Adkinson said. “Are we ready to do that together? Ready? 1,2,3,4,5…” With the class counting along, Adkinson…

Schools gear up for for trial run of new exams

CLINTON, Miss. — When Kerri Burnside’s fourth-graders solve a math problem, they know they must do more than simply find the right answer. In many problems, Burnside asks her students to explain their thinking with complete sentences, proper spelling, and conventions. “It takes longer to grade now,” said Burnside on a recent morning in her…

New standards bring big changes for Mississippi students

RIDGELAND, Miss. — Nearly two dozen kindergarten students sat neatly on a carpet one sunny December morning at Ann Smith Elementary School here, studying vocabulary words related to timing and sequence. Their teacher, Charlotte McNeese, chose a timely example to illustrate the meaning of such words as next and finally, asking her students to outline…

As online tests approach, new state exams will provide trial run

When Colorado students take end-of-grade exams next spring, many will face arguably the hardest tests yet of their education careers. Rather than bubbling in answer sheets, students in five grades will complete various tasks on computers to show their mastery of new science and social-studies standards, which are rolling out this year across the state. Ready or…

Ready or not, new standards hit Colorado schools

DURANGO, Colo. — On a sunny morning in early June, 30 educators crowded around tables in a room at Fort Lewis College for the first session in a three-day training on Colorado’s new academic standards. Though the school year had just ended, nearly 600 teachers converged on the small college in anticipation of the changes…