Southeast Tennessee Common Core Coaches have already received training on the standards, and will be coaching teachers this summer.
“Last year Tennessee implemented math common core coaches because we started math this year. Now they have expanded into English language arts and literacy in science, social studies and career,” Bradley County Common Core coach Kim Covington said.
There are 13 coaches from Bradley County Schools.
Covington said the coaches were chosen at the state level through an application process.
“It was not an easy process,” Covington said.
Applications were accepted in November. Coaches were notified in February if they had been selected.
Covington said she applied for the position because she wanted to have a better understanding of the new standards before they were fully implemented.
The new standards present a shift in the focus of teaching across the state. Rather than spending only a little time on multiple new concepts, the standards focus on a deeper understanding of fewer concepts.
Covington said teaching will now focus on “really getting into some deeper thought processes.” She said how teachers present information will largely remain the same.
For students, the new standards encourage exploration in ways to solve problems, Covington said.
“They have to take some more responsibility ... for the learning,” Covington said.
The first training for elementary coaches was held in March, with the training for high school coaches being held last month.
A final coaches’ training session before the summer teacher training will be held later this month.
Teachers will receive three days of training this summer on the English language arts standards with an additional two days of training to review the math standards that were implemented this year.
“Science and social studies standards won’t be changing right now,” Covington said.
Instead, literacy standards will be added to these content areas.
According to the state’s “Expect More, Achieve More” coalition, “the Common Core State Standards are a set of standards in math and English that were developed by state leaders to ensure that every student graduates high school prepared for the future.”
The standards build on students’ knowledge with standards starting in kindergarten and building on that foundation up through 12th grade. The goal is to make students “college and career ready,” Covington said.
The standards move away from multiple choice questions, replacing them with short answer and essay questions. In math, students will be asked to solve the problem, as well as explain how they got the answer. Covington said a student will receive partial credit if they list the steps correctly but have an incorrect final answer.
Changes will also affect the writing assessments currently given in fifth, eighth and 11th grades. Covington said in the past these have been one type of writing for each grade. Under the Common Core Standards, it could be narrative, explanatory or argumentative.
“And you don’t know which one you will be tested on (until the day of the test),” Covington said.
While the standards will be implemented in the 2013-14 school year, end-of-year testing will not change until the 2014-15 school year.