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West Virginia Department of Education Recommends Repeal of Standards Following Community Review

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November 13, 2015

Proposed Changes Result In More Flexibility For Teachers

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) recommended to repeal and replace the current K-12 academic standards known as “Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives” during a Board of Education (WVBE) meeting today. The recommendation was based on findings presented by West Virginia University following the Academic Spotlight community review which included input from more than 5,000 individuals.

From July through September 2015, WVDE provided an online platform for West Virginia residents to review the current academic standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics and provide specific feedback on how the standards could be improved.

West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano recommended to repeal the current standards and introduced a new set of standards known as “West Virginia College- and Career-Readiness Standards.” The proposed new standards reflect feedback received through the Academic Spotlight process and are based on a rigorous, challenging and focused foundation.

“I remain solely committed to high quality standards for our students and teachers,” Martirano said. “These proposed new standards not only increase rigor, but also provide the groundwork to ensure our students are equipped with the skills needed for college, careers and the 21st century world of work.”

In addition to changes to specific standards, one major recommendation will result in more flexibility and autonomy for teachers. Based on feedback received throughout the Academic Spotlight process, WVDE recommends affording more local control to districts regarding choice of curriculum and instructional materials. Instead of setting a list of approved instructional materials, it is recommended to set criteria for resources and allowing districts to select instructional materials that meet that criteria. This recommendation will give teachers the flexibility to select high quality instructional materials tailored to individual student needs.

Highlights among the numerous recommended changes include:

  • Simplify the presentation of standards for teachers and parents
  • Increase prevalence of problem-solving skills with a connection to college, careers and life-needed skills
  • Align standards for more grade level appropriateness for all standards at all grade levels
  • Include clarifying examples within each standard to make them more relevant to learning
  • Include an introduction of foundational skills in ELA and mathematics to ensure mastery of content in future grade levels
  • Include handwriting in grades K-4, and explicit mention of cursive writing instruction in grades 2-3
  • Include an explicit mention for students to learn multiplication (times) tables by the end of grade 3
  • Add standards specific to Calculus with the expectation of Calculus being available to all students

A complete list of specific recommended changes can be found within the attachments.

After approving two amendments to clarify language, WVBE unanimously voted to place the proposed new policies, Policy 2520.1A (ELA) and 2520.2B (mathematics), on public comment for 30 days. It is anticipated that action will be taken on the policy during the WVBE December Board meeting.

For more information, contact Kristin Anderson at the WVDE Office of Communications at (304) 558­2699 or kristin.anderson@k12.wv.us.

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