Kindergarten, Standards, and the Common Core
You may have heard a discussion on the basis of common state standards (CCSS) for kindergarten. Some people argue that these standards are too demanding, pushing young children too quickly and causing practices in the appropriate classroom in the classroom. Others argue that these standards are not only feasible, but the key to improving education in the United States. So what is a father to believe?
First, keep in mind what standards are and are not. Standards are expectations of what students know and can do. For example, it is expected that the CCSS that at the end of kindergarten, children can “do and answer questions about unknown words in a text.” In other words, if a teacher reads a story to children with the word drawbridge, we expect a child who does not know how to ask, “What is a drawbridge?” If a story describes such a large egg, we hope that a child can answer the teacher’s question: “What do you think enormous resources?” Using context and image clues.
The criteria relate to what to teach but that teachers do not tell how to teach. For example, there are many different ways to help students learn to ask and answer questions about unfamiliar words in a text. The standards do not specify which master techniques should and should not be used.
Standards are not the same as tests. We can have standards without large-scale and high-risk trials, and large-scale and high-risk testing can exist, and it did so without alignment with standards.
Similarly, the expectations of the CCSS to know that kindergarten children and are able to do too high? The short answer is “it is not in the hands of a teacher who knows how to handle properly.” The problem, of course, is that all teachers do not know. Factors such as tight education budgets and controversy over the very adoption of the CCSS meant that some states and districts have not invested in professional development, some teachers need to talk to the CCSS appropriately. The result can be an appropriate practice.
For example, a teacher might think that in order to meet the standard that students are expected to “recognize and name the whole alphabet in uppercase and lowercase,” children should be given a lot of worksheets or it may take many years, but I have seen many teachers help children comply with this standard without drilling or work sheets. In fact, some of you may have a child who meets this standard, without spreadsheets or exercises. Teachers can read alphabet books, major alphabet games, give children opportunities to write letters on sand or chalk sidewalks, make custom alphabet books (for my son, D dinosaur!) Use alphabet puppets, etc. . There are no drills or worksheets here!