They asked nine experts in the fields of math and English language arts to weigh in on an earlier draft of the standards.
One expert, former University of Arkansas professor and vocal Common Core critic Sandra Stotsky, refused to participate because she says the proposed standards are too similar to the ones they replace.
Other reviewers also noted the proposed standards’ similarity. Michael Cohen is president of Achieve, the non-profit that helped develop the Common Core. He says Indiana’s efforts to rewrite standards could discourage other states from doing the same thing.
“But to go through that process for a year and end up pretty close to where they started, I think most states will look at that and say probably not a great idea if your primary concern is about making sure you have the right expectations for students,” Cohen tells StateImpact.The proposed standards add additional expectations for upper level math. And Cohen says that’s a good thing, but he says he’s worried too many of those standards are now in elective classes, not the ones everyone takes.
On the other hand, the proposed English language arts standards are so close to the Common Core Cohen says Indiana could likely test students using the national Common Core exams.
The new expectations for what students should know and learn at each grade level still have to pass muster with the Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education later this month.
More than 800 Indiana teachers submitted feedback on the new standards during an online public comment period in April. But the public won’t have a chance to weigh in again on the draft standards before the State Board considers them.
“Having another whole process of public review is an issue,” state superintendent Glenda Ritz said after agreeing at last week’s State Board meeting to release the drafts.
If adopted, teachers will be expected to start using the new standards in their classrooms during the 2014-15 school year. A new, statewide standardized test to replace the ISTEP+ and assess the new standards will be used in 2016.
At least one State Board member is expected to vote against the new standards. Andrea Neal has criticized the state’s tight timeline and says the process has been rushed.
“The errors they pointed out are not the kind that can be cleaned up overnight. In fact, the corrections themselves deserve careful scrutiny to make sure they are done as intended,” Neal wrote in a statement. “How can this occur in the mere five days between release of the next draft and the scheduled vote of the Education Roundtable?”