Teaching standards to teachers

Students need to understand the performance that will be expected of them as well as their teachers do, about 70 area educators were told Saturday at Carson High School.

The teachers and school administrators were learning to understand the content and performance standards that are now the rule for Nevada school curriculums. The teachers present will be charged with passing the understanding on to their fellow educators in Carson City, Douglas and Lyon counties.

Students who will be held to the standards need to understand the vocabulary such as standard or benchmark, know what the standards are and be permitted to assess their own performance as they learn, Huck Fritterer said.

Fritterer is senior research associate for WestEd, an education laboratory contracted to help area schools implement the standards. He explained to the educators what that standards are and how they can best be implemented in classrooms.

Dorothy Todd, assistant superintendent for education services for the Carson City School District, said the content and proficiency standards have been mandated by the Nevada Legislature, which also provided funds for programs like this weekend's to implement the standards. The mandate was in response to poor student scores on standardized tests.

"It really hits us when our students had trouble passing the proficiency tests," Todd said.

Like many states, Nevada now requires that students pass proficiency tests to receive a high school diploma. As the first students facing that requirement took the exams, the portion that failed one or more attempts was higher than expected.

"With content and performance standards, teachers will be aiming their lessons at those core standards from kindergarten through high school," Todd said.

She said teachers will use frequent assessments such as tests to measure the effectiveness of their instruction. If students do not learn a concept as first taught, which would be shown as poor scores on the frequent tests, the lesson plan could be redesigned to increase the comprehension.

"The standards will improve the proficiency test results, as well as the way teachers teach," she said.

But teachers will continue to determine for their own classes how best to present lessons efficiently, Todd said, and will still have their own lesson plans and styles.


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