December 17, 2015
JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) received Thursday the final recommendations for changes to the Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards following a 90-day public comment period and an intensive committee review of all comments.
The standards review committee included 40 teachers, five administrators, six postsecondary faculty, two parents and seven specialists in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. The review committee meetings in September, October and November were facilitated by the Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit, Mississippi Department of Education staff, and the Center on Standards & Assessment Implementation (CSAI), which provides state education agencies with research support, technical assistance, tools, and other resources to help inform decisions about standards, assessment, and accountability. CSAI provided assistance to Kentucky, Arizona and Indiana when they reviewed their standards.
The committee focused on three main areas for consideration of changes to the standards that guide instruction for mathematics and ELA from kindergarten to 12th grade. They examined whether the suggested changes aligned to critical content that students should know and be able to do, whether the current standard needed clarity or rewording to promote understanding and whether it was developmentally appropriate for students.
Sissy Lynn, 2015 Mississippi Parent of the Year, served on the standards review committee. She said she found the whole experience enlightening.
“From start to finish, the process was open and transparent, and MDE officials clearly explained to the team our goals and challenges,” she said. “My hope is that, with these enhanced standards and with additional professional development, we will see a big improvement in test scores and student achievement in the years to come.”
The committee recommended the following changes in mathematics:
The committee also recommended the following changes in ELA:
Before the recommendations were presented to the SBE, they were reviewed by the Southern Regional Education Board, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with 16 member states to improve education. Mississippi is a member of the organization.
“I applaud the hard work by this standards review committee. They were thoughtful and deliberate about the process and they provided the MDE with information that will guide our professional development for teachers,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.
Stephanie Brewer, assistant superintendent of Petal School District, also was a member of the review committee. She said professionalism guided their work.
“Every committee member felt a responsibility to produce an excellent product and this was evident in the conservations surrounding the content. The process was done with fidelity and every comment was addressed,” she said. “We began with a good set of standards and made them Mississippi great. I felt professionally refreshed after we completed our work and optimistic about Mississippi’s future.”
From June 15 through September 15, 2015, the MDE sought public input on the state's ELA and mathematics standards through online comments. The forum encouraged stakeholders to read the standards and either submit comments in support of the standards or provide specific, actionable feedback on any standards of concern.
Academic standards define what Mississippi students are expected to learn at each grade level to graduate ready for success in college and career. How the standards are taught – the curriculum or methods and materials used – is decided at the local level, as it was with previous standards.
Results from that comment period showed that more than 90 percent of the participants approved of the learning goals for students. Close to 1,400 people visited the site, providing 8,521 points of feedback. No one suggested removing a standard.
A closer look at the approval rates among various participants who identified in a particular category showed the following:
- 91 percent of teachers approved
- 83 percent of parents approved
- 96 percent of school administrators approved
- 85 percent of professors approved
- 88 percent of students approved
- 93 percent of community members approved
- 100 percent of business and industry representatives approved
About 49 percent of those who weighed in on the standards were teachers, about 17 percent were parents, 15 percent were administrators or school district staff, and about 6 percent represented the community at-large.
The SBE voted to open the proposed changes for public comment beginning Dec. 18. Any changes to the standards would not be implemented until the 2016-17 school year.
View the listing of proposed changes to English language arts standards here.
View the listing of proposed changes to math standards here.
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications
Jean Cook, APR