Sept. 27, 2012
For Immediate Release
| Robyn Oatley with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence presented at ReadyKentucky on Campbellsville University's campus about the new academic standards Kentucky has adopted. (Campbellsville University Photo by Christina L. Kern)
By Christina L. Kern, office assistant
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.-- Campbellsville University recently hosted Robyn Oatley with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence on campus for ReadyKentucky, an initiative to help teachers, parents and other involved Kentuckians understand and prepare for the state’s new academic standards that will help students succeed in college and the workplace.
The standards prepare Kentucky public schools to be the same as public schools in other states, while preparing students to be college and career ready.
Oatley served as a teacher for 35 years, directing band and teaching elementary arts and humanities and performing arts. She also worked with Discovery Channel.
“I loved my career,” Oatley said. “But this is the most excited I’ve been about education in 35 years.”
Oatley said much progress has been made in the public school system. “Fourth grade in Kentucky is now the same as Illinois and Tennessee,” Oatley said.
All states around Kentucky are now doing the “common core.” Forty-six states now have these same standards. “We’ve got to get our edge back,” she said.
Oatley said 40 to 60 percent of students take remedial classes in college, which means there is a gap between public school and college credit-bearing courses. Only 8 percent of students who take remedial courses in college will graduate in four years.
The standards are simply a “sentence which tells what students need to know by the end of the year.”
“Think of it like a train,” Oatley said. “Each grade is a car; if one of the cars derails, the train comes off the track. It is important to keep continuity of what students are learning.”
Military families especially are fans of the standards because their child can be studying in Washington one day and Kentucky the next, but still learn everything they need to that year, Oatley said.
Oatley said Kentucky education used to be second to last, 49th on a list of rank order states, with Mississippi being the only state ranked lower. Now Kentucky is 14th. “That is a huge jump when talking about the changing cultures of education,” Oatley said.
National data shows Kentucky is in the top 10 for fourth grade reading, science and math, and eighth grade reading. “But we don’t see any top rankings for high school,” Oatley said. “So we expect to see some drastic changes.”
In high school, now students will have an end of course test in English II, Algebra II, Biology and U.S. History. “These are not graduation tests, but it could affect graduation,” Oatley said.
The end of course tests can count toward 20 percent or more of the student’s end of course grade. A student can fail the test but not fail the course as well as the test could make the student fail the course, the latter of which could delay graduation.
Schools are also being graded differently with the new standards system. Before, schools were graded on a point scale of zero to 140. Now schools are graded on a percentage scale. “Scores will look lower,” Oatley said. “A school which scored 120 will now score about 90, if the school scored the same. It’s simply a new mathematical system,” Oatley said.
“These are higher standards but we need the community to share and use resources to help with the transition,” Oatley said.
For more information on the new Kentucky core academic standards, contact Oatley at ReadyKY@prichardcommittee.org, call the Lexington office at (859) 233-9849 or visit www.readykentucky.org.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.
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Thu, September 27, 2012
by Christina Kern