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WV Department of Education Seeking Comments On Refined Curriculum

November 20, 2002

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is helping teachers design classroom instruction, assess progress, and report on student achievement. The WVDE has recently completed the first phase of refining curriculum for state schools. The policy is now posted for comment on the WV Department of Education website: http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/  

State curriculum for all content areas is composed of three parts: content standards, broad descriptions or what students should know and be able to do; objectives, more specific details of knowledge and skills needed for mastery of content standards; and performance descriptors.  

The refined curriculum will replace the Instructional Goals and Objectives (IGOs) that have been used in West Virginia's schools since 1997. Committees of educators from around the state have been working tirelessly to refine the curriculum in all content areas. The committees based their work on national standards, best teaching practices in the field, and most current research.  

"This is a major accomplishment and the new standards fall right in line with the No Child Left Behind Act," said Office of Instructional Services Executive Director Deborah Brown. "As a result of the revision, a rigorous and challenging curriculum is proposed with a format that is easy to use and to understand."  

The newest change is the addition of performance descriptors. Performance descriptors are narrative descriptions explaining how well the student performs on the content standard. Currently these descriptors have been written on three levels, and are now being expanded to five levels: distinguished; above mastery; mastery; partial mastery; and novice.  

So far, performance descriptors have been expanded in the content areas of Mathematics; Science; Social Studies; and Reading and English Language Arts. Further revision is taking place in The Arts (Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Art); Driver Education; Foreign Language; Health and Physical Education.  

For more information about the content standards and objectives in a particular subject area, contact the Office of Instructional Services at 304-558-7805.  

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