By LYDIA BERGLAR
Dade County educators are preparing to implement new Georgia math standards across all grade levels in the 2023-2024 school year.
While the transition requires extra work initially, the new standards have received overall positive feedback from teachers. Notably, the standards no longer include any Common Core elements, a controversial set of standards first used in 2010.
The last change to the standards was in 2016. Patti Johnson, director of academics/testing for Dade County, explained that the state began working on the new standards in 2019. Over 200 teachers from across the state were involved in the process.
Johnson said, “When they completed a draft, they sent it out to educators and business leaders. They made revisions based on feedback, and continued that process, sending them out for public comment.”
The school system has already begun training to ensure a thorough understanding of the standards. Ashlie Smith (DCHS) and Alicia Bell (DMS) facilitated one training session in the first week of January.
Johnson said, “Alicia and Ashlie are in a consortium where they meet with other school districts who discussed the standards. They came to me and said, ‘We can’t wait until summer [to begin training]’ like we normally would. By May, teachers should all have their courses of study mapped out and understand the new vocabulary.”
Some information has been moved from one grade level to another to be more age appropriate. This creates extra work for the teachers ahead of the initial year because they must ensure students won’t miss any information. If something used to be taught in sixth grade but is now in fifth, a rising sixth grader would miss that information. Alternatively, if information moved up a grade, some students will study it twice.
Johnson explained, “The teachers are going through to make sure students don’t have gaps. This coming year will be a little tricky. That’s why we started talking about it now.”
In the long run, educators feel the new standards are a worthwhile improvement. Johnson noted, “Teachers said that the new standards are more understandable and more concise. Teachers can ensure that students are mastering the language. In the old ones, it was hard to know if the students understood it. They’ve said that the standards are more age appropriate.”
For example, a kindergarten standard has been changed from, “Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger,” to, “Given a number from 1-20, identify the number that is one more or one less.”
The new standards have also combined several similar standards. A geometry example was separated into two. “Given a rectangle, parallelogram, trapezoid, or regular polygon, describe the rotations and reflections that carry it onto itself,” and “Develop definitions of rotations, reflections, and translations in terms of angles, circles, perpendicular lines, parallel lines, and line segments.” The new singular standard reads, “Use geometric reasoning and symmetries of regular polygons to develop definitions of rotations, reflections, and translations.”
Johnson said, “Teachers will be able to spend more time on each standard and ensure student mastery.”
The county reviewed the current textbooks and resources, finding that they are still compatible with the new standards. Johnson explained, “We’ve used Pearson Math for three years, and we can keep using them. We won’t have to cost the district money by purchasing new resources.”