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North Dakota New Academic Standards - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

North Dakota New Academic Standards

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The state of North Dakota announced today that some teachers don't feel prepared to teach the new academic standards to your children. The new requirements are based on the "common core" standards for English, language arts, and math. These tests will begin next spring, all across the state.

Valley News Live investigated and explains why some teachers feel unprepared and what challenges children may face when the switch happens.

Common core standards are grade specific items that students must be prepared on before moving to the next grade. The standards basically teach subjects earlier to students, for example student might learn fractions in third grade instead of fourth grade.

Recently the department of public instruction surveyed teachers about the new standards. 24% of teachers surveyed did not feel prepared to teach these new standards even though most schools in the state have already started to implement the standards. 76% felt prepared for the new standards. Additionally, 13% of the teachers who replied to the survey said the standards do not provide enough room to help students who are behind in their learning like students with special needs. Fully implementing the standards takes time because teachers are shifting material to lower grades and trying to catch students up during this transition period.

Hankinson Public School Superintend Chad Bentson told Valley News Live he doesn't think the transition period is good for students and too much is being put on them at earlier age. "We're not sure that we think the kids are prepared to receive all of that material," Bentson says. "There is some disagreement over content that is shifting downward, for example, where we feel like this might be too much to ask of these kids, to know this particular content."

Bentson thinks this transition will take a few years and parents will see a impact on the students test scores because the exams will be different style than what student are used to. Bentson thinks more pilot tests and time is needed before testing on these standards.

"We're not convinced we're prepared for the tests, because the test is such an unknown, and it is a different test," says Bentson. "That does worry us."

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