Tribune-Courier News Reporter
This fall the Marshall County School System will begin implementing Next-Generation Science Standards, which will have students in grades K-12 focusing more on active learning rather than memorizing science content out of a textbook.
Abby Griffy, Marshall County Schools Elementary Schools Supervisor, said Marshall County teachers began training for the new standards during the summer of 2013 even though the state school board hadn’t mandated the new standards until last week.
The Next-Generation Science Standards establish the science concepts and skills Kentucky students will be required to know. They were drafted cooperatively by Kentucky and 25 other states.
“We’re already ahead of the game a little bit when it comes to the standards, but we still have to finish designing the entire curriculum,” she said. “It’s going to be a huge shift, but these standards are what science should have been all along. The standards make science more hands on. They make us do experiments – there aren’t a lot of worksheets like it was in the past – it’s a lot better than it was.”
Griffy said that during the 2014-15 academic year, while the standards are new to the elementary and middle schools, there won’t be end of year testing. The high school will still have end of year testing, but Griffy said they have already been learning the new standards for the past year.
“The state will have to develop a test that will compare to the new standards for the elementary and middle schools,” she said. “Since the classes will be so different we imagine the testing will be very different as well.”
Griffy said the Marshall County School System is developing its own common assessment system for grades K-12 so that teachers and administrators can monitor how students across the district are doing with the new science standards.
“We’re excited for these new standards. They are very different from what we’ve done in the past, but it’s a good thing,” she said. “It’s what science should be – what it would be in a real working lab – not what it is in a science text book.”
Griffy said she expects students will find their science classes more engaging with the new standards than with the past curriculum, which she says should translate to better testing scores.